On April 19, 2021, Australia and New Zealand opened up a two-way quarantine-free trans-Tasman travel bubble, allowing air travel between the two countries once again. Qantas and its low-cost arm Jetstar welcomed it as a major breakthrough for Australian aviation and tourism recovery.
“Quarantine-free travel has been almost 400 days in the making. Reopening these flights across the Tasman is a very important milestone in the recovery from the pandemic for Australia and New Zealand but also aviation and tourism,” said Qantas CEO Alan Joyce.
Jetstar’s first departure was the flight JQ201 from Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport (SYD) to Auckland Airport (AKL), operated using the Airbus A320 aircraft. Qantas first post-halt flight QF143 out of Sydney (SYD) to Auckland (AKL) was operated with the Airbus A330 aircraft.
Qantas and its low-cost arm plan to operate to all pre-COVID-19 destinations in New Zealand across 15 routes. The airlines are carrying out a combined 29 flights between Australia and New Zealand on April 19, 2021, and have around 200 flights planned each week afterwards.
“New Zealand was Australia’s second-biggest source of international visitors before the pandemic. Today, it’s about to go straight to number one,” Joyce added.
Australia and New Zealand closed their border in March 2020. In October 2020, Australia reopened its borders to New Zealanders. However, New Zealand reopened its doors to Australia just now.
Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison commenting on the trans-Tasman travel bubble said that “the idea that on one day that everything just opens — that’s not how this is going to happen. It will happen cautiously and carefully.”