New Zealand 'absolutely missed' Australia, PM Jacinda Ardern says

Katie Ramirez
April 7, 2021

Australians will be able to travel to New Zealand without having to quarantine from 11:59 pm on Sunday April 18, Ms Ardern said Tuesday afternoon.

Qantas Loyalty CEO Olivia Wirth said frequent flyers took the opportunity to redeem thousands of points built up over the pandemic, with the rate of redemptions 80-times that of a normal day.

The confirmation of a quarantine-free travel bubble between Australia and New Zealand means Super Rugby Trans-Tasman can start as planned on May 14.

Update 6/4/21: Currently Western Australia hasn't been included within the New Zealand travel bubble, travellers entering from New Zealand will have to face 14-days in hotel quarantine at their own expense.

Qantas and Jetstar will operate up to 122 return flights per week across the Tasman to all pre-COVID NZ destinations, as well as two new routes direct from Auckland to Cairns and the Gold Coast.

Along with Qantas, Virgin Australia recently received millions in dollars of assistance from the federal government to maintain its global aviation capability. The airline has reportedly pushed back cross-Tasman flights until September.

A spokesman for the Department of Infrastructure, Transport Regional Development and Communications said Virgin's decision to delay flights to New Zealand would not affect the funding.

"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", he said.

'It could be argued that this is an even bigger win for New Zealand.

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"We absolutely wish to encourage family and friends to reunite and visitors to come and enjoy the hospitality New Zealand is ready and waiting to offer", she said, but cautioned that "people will need to plan for the possibility of travel being disrupted if there is an outbreak".

New data from Skyscanner has revealed the cheapest months to visit New Zealand, with savings of up to 40 per cent on fares for those with flexible travel dates.

Australia has so far registered some 29,400 injuries, including 909 deathsMost of it is due to an outbreak in Melbourne in mid-2020, while New Zealand, which is considered the best country that has managed the epidemic, is piling up.

Those flying between the two countries will be on a "green zone flight".

Air New Zealand will also reintroduce direct services between Auckland and Perth, between Wellington, Christchurch and Sydney, and between Queenstown and Sydney.

However, travellers will be required to provide their contact details, use New Zealand's COVID-19 contact tracing app and wear a mask on the plane.

However, the average expenditure of an global Australian tourist was US$3,274 in the same year, showing how much value has been lost for New Zealand's tourism sector since the closing of its borders.

"Anyone in Australia who is travelling between states is prepared for outbreaks and there possibly being disruption, and again can't believe I am saying this, view New Zealand as another state in that way", she said.

Flights to and from some Australian states could still be suspended if there were local outbreaks, Ardern warned.

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