Air New Zealand has hit pause on bookings to Australia until 28 August, citing stringent new measures that cap the number of passengers arriving into eastern seaboard capitals.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison tightened arrival restrictions on 20 July, limiting international flights into Sydney and Brisbane to 30 passengers.
International arrivals are barred from Melbourne entirely through to at least 8 August.
For returning Sydneysiders, this comes on top of the Berejiklian government’s limit of 350 overseas arrivals per day into Sydney Airport, which also came into effect as of midnight 20 July.
Air New Zealand chief commercial and customer officer Cam Wallace said that while these restrictions remain in place, the airline is placing a hold on future bookings to help prevent disruptions should the restrictions be extended.
“We know there are people wanting to head home to Australia at this time and we’ll be ready to fly them as soon as we are able to accommodate more passengers,” Wallace said.
At the time the cap was introduced, Singapore Airlines moved to suspend online sales on flights already at the cap.
Ticket prices to Australia have since skyrocketed – a one-way Qatar Airways economy-class fare from Doha to Sydney runs as much as $4,000 in August.
Several airlines have been accused of leveraging the bans to squeeze cash out of passengers. Earlier this month, the ABC reported a number of cases in which returning Australians were told their flights had been cancelled, only to find out it had gone ahead.