New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced that a quarantine-free travel bubble from Australia can commence on April 19.
The Prime Minister said that at least two airlines – Air New Zealand and Qantas – are “very keen to start offering tickets”.
Air New Zealand said it is “pre-loading the bubbles for customers onboard its first quarantine-free flights across the ditch – 24,000 bottles in fact!”
From 19 April 2021, Air New Zealand will be ramping up flights between Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown and eight of its Australian ports for the travel bubble.
Air New Zealand Chief Executive Officer Greg Foran (above) says the airline is incredibly excited to have the border reopen to our Aussie neighbors.
“This is terrific news. I know Kiwis and Australians have been wanting to reconnect with whānau and friends for a year now and we’re incredibly excited to be playing a part in those reunions.
“I’ll certainly be digging out my passport for the first time since I joined the airline to head across the ditch to see my family and I’m especially looking forward to meeting some of my grandchildren for the first time.”
The airline says it has been preparing for a trans-Tasman bubble for a few months now, bringing furloughed crew back on board and ensuring they are up to speed with training, along with making sure its international airports and lounges are ready for the influx of customers.
“Pre-COVID-19, Australia was the largest tourism market for both our airline and New Zealand. We know a lot of tourism operators have been feeling the lack of international visitors so we’re looking forward to playing a role in New Zealand’s recovery.
“Using the strength of our domestic network we’ll be able to connect Australians with more destinations around the country. With the rest of the world still out of reach, New Zealand offers landscapes and experiences that are up there with the world’s best attractions.”
The Australian Airports Association said that “the long-awaited two-way travel bubble between Australia and New Zealand will provide a much-needed boost to the aviation and tourism sectors and help to increase the confidence of potential travellers.”
The AAA Chief Executive James Goodwin said the new arrangement would allow Australians and New Zealanders to reconnect with family and friends.
“We can expect to see a lot of emotional scenes at our airports in two weeks’ time with many families and friends reunited after not seeing each other for more than a year,” Mr Goodwin said.
“Our consumer research suggests Australians are eager to get on an aircraft and start travelling again with almost 80 per cent supportive of creating travel bubbles with countries where levels of COVID-19 are low.