Trans-Tasman flights as new travel bubble on the horizon

Paola Ditto
Aprile 19, 2021

Preeya is hopeful other countries will soon be added to the travel bubble.

Qantas and Jetstar will operate 83 per cent of their pre-COVID capacity to New Zealand now the bubble has launched, and also start two new routes from Auckland to Cairns and the Gold Coast. Wholly owned low-priced subsidiary Jetstar will operate four flights.

The restoration of the bubble between both nations has been labelled "monumental" and a "day of revival" by members in the tourism industry, which has been decimated since the Covid-19 pandemic was declared. On Sunday evening, eagle-eyed planespotters spied a Qantas A330 repositioning into Auckland.

The first departure for passengers, the 6.15am JQ201 flight heading to Auckland, was delayed by 25 minutes.

Travellers, many of whom were visiting family, were pictured at Sydney Airport in the early hours of Monday as they took advantage of the landmark easing of restrictions which Prime Minister Scott Morrison hailed as "an important step in our road out".

Its 30 daily flights are set to grow to more than 300 per week operating from Brisbane, Melbourne, Gold Coast, Perth and Sydney into Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

Flights between Australia & New Zealand are in the air again on Monday.

The Air New Zealand 787-9, ZKNZQ msn 39296, departed Auckland at 9am as flight NZ103 and is scheduled to land in Sydney at 10:20am local time.

"If, however, a case was found that was not clearly linked to the border, and a state responded by a short lockdown to identify more information, we'd likely pause flights from that state in the same way we would stop travel into and out of a region in New Zealand as if it was going into a full lockdown". The airlines say demand for travel to New Zealand is stronger than demand to travel to Australia.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern welcomed those flying into the nation, calling it "truly exciting".

"It's such a positive step forward, " Air New Zealand's Chief Customer and Sales Officer, Leanne Geraghty told Wayfarer TV. "I'll be coming for those fish and chips!"

Ms Ardern said officials would conduct random temperature checks on those touching down in the country "as an extra precaution", and travellers from Australia would not have contact at airports with people arriving from other parts of the world.

Life has finally returned to global airport terminals in Australia more than a year after borders were slammed shut to halt the spread of Covid-19.

The arrangement means that for the first time in nearly 400 days passengers can fly across the Tasman Sea without undergoing mandatory Covid-19 quarantine when they arrive. "The initial pent-up demand has resulted in 40 services operating between Brisbane and New Zealand this week".

Air New Zealand will operate around 30 trans-Tasman services on Monday.

Auckland Airport expects to host around 400 trans-Tasman flights this week. In contrast, the airport saw just 36 flights to and from Australia in the first week of April.

It's not all good news.

"The accumulation of the opening of the transtasman bubble and the start of the Kiwi school holidays has created a real sense of momentum and energy", Foran said. "The idea that on one day that everything just opens, that's not how this is going to happen".

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