After being closed off to the rest of the world for most of the last year, New Zealand has announced the creation of a ‘trans-Tasman bubble’ that will allow for quarantine-free travel between New Zealand and Australia from April 19th. New Zealand’s prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, announced today, April 6, that Australians would be allowed into the country without having to quarantine; Kiwis have been able to visit Australia for a number of months.
Air New Zealand has responded quickly by announcing that it will be ramping up flights between Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown and eight of its Australian ports.
Air New Zealand Chief Executive Officer Greg Foran says the airline is incredibly excited to have the border reopen to our Aussie neighbours:“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.”
However, Ms Ardern warned that the new arrangements would be suspended should there be a Covid outbreak in either country, and that travel would be different. Travellers will have to wear a mask on board planes and will still need to provide contact details for their stay in New Zealand. Random temperature checks will also be a regular feature in airports.
Tourism businesses in New Zealand have welcomed the news. Last month, Tourism New Zealand predicted that the trans-Tasman bubble would allow tourism revenue to reach 70 per cent of pre-Covid levels and that the local economy could expect a NZ$1 billion boost for the rest of the year.