First Australia-bound flight from NZ since travel bubble opened departs Wellington

Ruben Fields
April 20, 2021

Trish Stamoulos, about to head to New Zealand from Sydney Airport, told the Seven Network that her daughter, who is only 16, had been in New Zealand for over a year.

Both leaders also flagged the possibility of extending quarantine-free travel to other countries in the Pacific region when "it is safe to do so".

"It's a very big day and exciting for families and friends", said New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who hailed the success of both countries in containing the virus as a key factor in allowing the travel corridor.

"Right now, it's one-way traffic, with nearly three times as much travel going to New Zealand as in the opposite direction", said Olivier Ponti, vice president insights at travel data firm ForwardKeys.

Ardern said Australia Foreign Minister Marise Payne would travel to New Zealand on Wednesday.

"This is an important step forward in our COVID response and represents an arrangement I do not believe we have seen in any other part of the world", Ardern said from New Zealand's parliament in Wellington.

On Monday, thousands crossed the Tasman Sea to enter Australia and New Zealand after the long-awaited end of mandatory quarantine.

A giant sign painted near the main runway of the Wellington International Airport greets travellers returning home in Wellington New Zealand Monday April 19. The sign reads “Welcome Whanau” with the second word an Indigenous Maori word meaning famil

"That is, safely opening up worldwide travel to another country while continuing to pursue a strategy of elimination and a commitment to keeping the virus out".

When asked what was the first thing he said to her, he replied: "Not a thing". These flights are crewed only by members who have not been on high-risk routes for a set period of time.

The airline's chief operating officer Carrie Hurihanganui said the carrier had previously been running just two or three flights a day between the two countries but that jumped to 30 flights on Monday carrying 5,200 passengers.

Under the terms of the trans-Tasman bubble agreement, all states, territories and New Zealand can suspend quarantine-free travel with places that have outbreaks.

Signs welcome travelers back to New Zealand at Auckland International Airport. I have not seen her for over a year.

Victoria recorded zero new local cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, with four new cases in hotel quarantine.

"This case is a recent returnee who is considered recovered", say the MOH.

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