Close sidebar

New Zealand pauses bubble to Victoria

written by Adam Thorn | July 15, 2021
An Air New Zealand 787-9, ZK-NZG, which regularly flies between Melbourne and Auckland. (Victor Pody)
An Air New Zealand 787-9, ZK-NZG, which regularly flies between Melbourne and Auckland. (Victor Pody)

New Zealand has paused the trans-Tasman bubble to Victoria for at least four days starting on Friday.

The new rules mean anyone who has been in the Australian state from 1:59am (NZT) on 16 July cannot cross the Tasman regardless of where they catch their flight.

It comes after Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announced on Thursday afternoon that the state would head into a five-day snap lockdown, after cases rose to 16. Already 1,500 primary close contacts have been asked to fully isolate.

Advertisement
Advertisement

The country’s COVID-19 Response Minister, Chris Hipkins, said, “As with previous pauses, we acknowledge the frustration and inconvenience that comes with any interruption to trans-Tasman travel, but given the ongoing level of uncertainty around transmission in Melbourne, this is the right action to take.

“It is also in keeping with our consistently cautious approach to prevent COVID-19 entering the New Zealand community.”

Air New Zealand confirmed it will operate NZ250 MEL-WLG and NZ126 MEL-AKL on Thursday night as planned but then all flights would be cancelled.

“A reduced number of passenger flights will continue to operate to Melbourne, ensuring customers currently visiting New Zealand from Victoria can return home,” the airline said in a statement. “Cargo services will continue to operate between New Zealand and Victoria.”

PROMOTED CONTENT

The business added that affected customers who had booked directly with Air New Zealand are able to change their booking online with no change fee.

Customers from non-paused states will be able to continue to fly, however, are now required to take a pre-flight COVID-19 test within 72 hours of departure in a significant change to the rules introduced earlier this month.

New Zealand only re-started its quarantine-free trans-Tasman arrangement with much of Australia on 5 July. Currently, NSW is also on pause.

Earlier this week, Australian Aviation reported how Air New Zealand’s ‘repatriation’ flights taking Kiwis in COVID-hit NSW back home sold out in just 15 minutes, with the first departing on Tuesday.

Those on the so-called mercy flights will have to undertake two-week quarantine in the country’s government-run managed isolation facilities (MIQ).

Nine flights are currently scheduled between 13 and 23 July. Of these, two will fly into Christchurch, with the remaining to Auckland.

According to Air New Zealand, when booking a ‘managed return’ seat on a repatriation flight, customers will automatically have their MIQ place confirmed

When more MIQ allocations are provided, more seats will be made available for booking, according to the airline.

“We would love to be able to bring more Kiwis home to their families, but we’re limited by the availability of MIQ spots,” said Air New Zealand chief customer and sales officer Leanna Geraghty.

“Only between 40-60 seats per flight will be available to be booked by customers as these are directly linked to MIQ spots.

“Flights will be available on a first-in, first-served basis.”

Geraghty added that around 20 per cent of all MIQ allocations will be reserved for cases on compassionate grounds, which is managed through the New Zealand government.

Customers wishing to apply for compassionate grounds must do so via the government directly, the airline said.

Quarantine-free travel between the two countries only started in April, but Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern had warned the agreement would be temporarily halted in the event of a lockdown.

For just $59.95 a year, you can keep up to date with the very best of Australian Aviation each month, directly via our app! Our app is available on mobile, tablet and PC devices. So what are you waiting for? Go digital with Australian Aviation and read up on all missed special coverage, exclusive photos and editions. Subscribe now at australianaviation.com.au.

2 Comments

  • James

    says:

    This is ‘normal’ life now.
    Lockdowns, travel ‘bubbles’ constantly being opened, & closed.
    Stupid people disobeying covid laws, escaping from quarantine, bringing infection from one State to another.
    Those who think the world will return to a pre-covid level of normality are in la-la land.
    Vaccinations’ will have to be done every 6 to 12 months’ now, ad infinitum.
    This virus is now forever with humankind.

    What a wonderful(?) world, so thank you Wuhan lab…..not!

  • At least this has woken us up to the scale of the threat posed by the wretched, evil CCP. Anyone vaguely inclined to cut them even a millimetre of slack needs to ask why our country has been vilified and punished for having the temerity to call for an independent investigation which might prevent this from happening again next year or the year after…

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Each day, our subscribers are more informed with the right information.

SIGN UP to the Australian Aviation magazine for high-quality news and features for just $99.95 per year