Australia-New Zealand travel bubble launches with lopsided demand

Yolanda Curtis
April 20, 2021

Air New Zealand executive Craig Suckling said the atmosphere at Sydney airport before departure was electric.

The flight will be the first of many, with Qantas, Jetstar and Air New Zealand saying they were expecting to fly about 10,000 people on trans-Tasman routes today.

Television footage showed emotional scenes at the airports with families reuniting and scores of passengers thronging the worldwide departure terminals at Australian airports.

Monday saw thousands cross the Tasman Sea and enter New Zealand after the long-awaited end of mandatory quarantine for Australian travellers.

A woman hugs her daughter and grand-daughter at Sydney International Airport
A woman hugs her daughter and grand-daughter at Sydney International Airport Credit Jenny Evans /Getty Images AsiaPac

Passengers arriving in Auckland were met with "Welcome Whanau" signs - the Maori term for family - and a choir provided a score for emotional reunions. - AFP Danny Mather, right, and other family members wait at the Wellington International Airport for the arrival of Mather's pregnant daughter Kristy in Wellington, New Zealand, Monday.

Australia's deputy prime minister on Monday said his country is in talks with Singapore about a similar quarantine-free travel arrangement.

Ms Ardern, speaking after the New Zealand Ministry of Health confirmed authorities were following the usual process of isolating the case, interviewing them and tracing their contact movements was underway, revealed she had not yet spoken to Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

About 1.5 million Australians visited New Zealand in 2019, the year before the pandemic closed worldwide borders, making up about 40% of all visitors, spending NZ$2.7 billion ($1.93 billion) in the country, official data showed.

Under the deal with New Zealand, passengers from Australia take "green zone flights" for those who have been in Australia for the previous 14 days.

The bubble provides a new lease on life to airlines and airports.

At the Auckland airport, a choir was singing Dave Dobbyn's "Welcome Home" as people hugged and kissed their dear ones.

"I think this is going to be very important for the tourism and travel industry on both sides of the Tasman, as well the very practical issues of families being able to reconnect".

"This is also someone who is part of routine testing".

There are no new community cases of Covid-19 today.

Other reports by iNewsToday