Trans-Tasman flights as new travel bubble on the horizon

19 Avril, 2021, 04:35 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Qantas flight set to touch down in New Zealand six minutes after trans-Tasman bubble opens

The first flight to Australia from New Zealand since quarantine-free travel opened between the countries has taken off from Wellington Airport this morning.

All people residing in Australia or New Zealand, including foreign nationals, can use quarantine-free travel, as long as they meet the health, immigration, and other standard border clearance requirements in each country.

It's understood the Qantas flight repositioned in New Zealand and only had crew on board. Wholly owned low-priced subsidiary Jetstar will operate four flights.

The airline's chief executive Greg Foran said it was also a "monumental" day for those involved in the hard-hit tourism industry.

The first flight to depart Sydney on Monday morning was a 06:15 Jetstar A320 service to Auckland. On Sunday evening, eagle-eyed planespotters spied a Qantas A330 repositioning into Auckland.

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.

On a grass embankment at the foot of Wellington Airport's runway, the words "WELCOME WHANAU" (family) were spelled out in giant letters.

"Today's milestone is a win-win for Australians and New Zealanders, boosting our economies while keeping our people safe and just in time for Anzac Day", Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Sunday.

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

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Meanwhile, Air New Zealand is gearing up to welcome more than 5,000 passengers today between the two countries.

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". Despite 70,000 Australians expected to head to Queenstown to go skiing this southern winter, it's not all one-way traffic. "Having come from Australia and living in New Zealand, I'm super excited to get back and see my own family".

"We estimate that three-quarters of our passengers crossing the Ditch will be family and friends reuniting with loved ones".

"We've seen strong demand since the bubble was announced, with tens of thousands of bookings made in the first few days. 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. However the flight wasn't displayed on Auckland Airport's arrivals, and arrived 35 minutes after schedule.

There are 20 flights heading into Auckland from Australia today, the first of which doesn't touch down until just before midday. In contrast, the airport saw just 36 flights to and from Australia in the first week of April.

While the Australia-New Zealand bubble was the "first cab off the rank", it's hoped more travel bubbles will soon follow.

It's not all good news. As this travel bubble kicks off, Australia's Prime Minister on the weekend tempered expectations of any further relaxation of travel restrictions in the short term. "It will happen cautiously and carefully".

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