COVID-19

Airline’s big Aus-NZ travel bubble hint ahead of decision

The New Zealand Prime Minister said she would make an announcement about the bubble on Tuesday April 6, as airlines and airports appear to be ready to take on passengers. Air New Zealand is already offering daily flights between Auckland and Sydney.The airline is also selling flights between Auckland and Melbourne from Friday April 9.The Australian reports this morning the bubble was expected to begin Monday, April 12, or Monday, April 19.Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry tourism chief John Hart told The Australian “the 19th was pretty much definite”. “That’s what the airlines have been told and they’ve already started bookings,” he said.New Zealand’s Cabinet is meeting today to sign off a starting date, which Ms Ardern will reveal in a press conference this afternoon.“We are ready to put out a commencement date,” she said.“I’m a Kiwi like everyone else,” she said, commenting on the bubble opening.NZ Airports Association Chief Exective Kevin Ward told New Zealand media any outbreak could be managed with a state-by-state approach and they are keen to get quarantine-free travel going with Australia and the Cook Islands.It’s understood a bubble with the Cook Islands could begin in May. “They have been ready for some time to meet requirements for red and green traveller separation and health requirements such as cleaning and signage, and I’m confident they will achieve any final sign-offs from the authorities in short order,’’ he said. According to the New Zealand Herald, Air New Zealand plans to run more flights from Auckland to Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane from April 12 to April 18. The airline will increase flights from Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown to all nine Australian ports from April 19 to October 30.Auckland to Hobart flights will not be available for sale until a two-way safe travel zone has been confirmed.Qantas and Jetstar have stated they will offer Frequent Flyers uncapped Classic Flight Reward seats for the first three days of travel when the two-way trans-Tasman bubble opens.NED-3467 Travel BubblesOnce the start date is confirmed, thousands of seats across all cabins will be available to be booked as Classic Flight Rewards over the 72-hour travel period. Customers can also pay for these seats.Qantas Frequent Flyer will also add 50 per cent more Classic Reward seats on Qantas’ trans-Tasman flights for the remainder of the year.Qantas Loyalty CEO Olivia Wirth said the initiative would reward the program’s Australian and New Zealand members who have continued to build their points balance during the pandemic.“Our members have been stockpiling points during COVID for exactly these opportunities and we want to help make it easier to get on one of the first international flights,” Ms Wirth said.“That’s why every seat on every Qantas and Jetstar flight for the first three days of the travel bubble opening will be Classic Flight Rewards.“For the remainder of the year, there will also be more reward seats available including during peak times like Christmas and school holidays on Qantas’ trans-Tasman flights.“Eighty per cent of Qantas Frequent Flyers have said they want to use the points they have been stockpiling on travel. This is just one example of how we’ll be making it easier for members to get closer to their next dream trip as borders reopen.”

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