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Trans-Tasman bubble won’t restart when suspension ends

written by Adam Thorn | September 8, 2021
An Air New Zealand A321 Neo as shot by Rob Finlayson

New Zealand’s government has again downplayed any chance of the trans-Tasman bubble resuming when its current suspension ends later this month.

The country’s COVID-19 Response Minister, Chris Hipkins, said on Wednesday it was “unrealistic” to expect a decision in the next few weeks.

Quarantine-free travel between the two countries started in April this year, but was halted to all of Australia in late July for two months after much of Australia entered lockdown.

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Minister Hipkins instead said Kiwis in Australia should attempt to come home via so-called red flights, which involve passengers quarantining in the country’s supervised MIQ accommodation.

It comes as New Zealand’s ministry for business, innovation and employment announced a new red flight will depart NSW next week, with applications for seats required by 5pm on Saturday, 11 September.

Last week, Australian Aviation reported comments by Air New Zealand’s chief executive, Greg Foran, arguing that he thinks the bubble will change when it finally resumes.

“I do think that we [will] open up to Australia but in all likelihood, we may end up operating Australia like we do with many countries when we feel travel is safe,” he said.

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“You’re probably going to have to do a pre-departure test. You’re probably going to have to do a test on the way home and you’re probably going to have to do a test when you arrive back in the country.”

The airline also recently announced a boost to its domestic schedule in response to the most recent changes in ‘alert level’ lockdown rules.

The changes will see several services a week added between Christchurch and Dunedin, while the flight time between Wellington-Christchurch has been moved to allow for better connectivity.

The news followed all states in the country – aside from Auckland and Northland –downgrading alert levels in response to decreasing COVID cases.

“While we can’t fly as often as we’d like, we’re doing everything we can to get people safely to where they need to go,” Foran said.

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5 Comments

  • Ashley

    says:

    This move was bound to fail from the get-go, for many reasons’.

    Maybe all should stay quiet about it, as it’s unknown how the covid variants’ will be affecting both Countries’, into the foreseeable future.

  • Yvonne Harvey

    says:

    Why cant there be flights from Perth to Chrustchurch. I have a business in Nelson NZ that is costing me rent each week with no money coming in!!
    Perth is covid free and so is Christchurch. I would love to get home. We are covid free!!
    We dont qualify for the red flights from Sydney. Which I think is totally brainless as thats the worst hit place of Australia for covid.

    • Nicholas

      says:

      Dear Yvonne,

      why are you even asking this question?

      The answer is you live in WA, where the Premier is bordering on the unhinged and you’ll be lucky to be given some travel freedoms by 2099…

  • Troy

    says:

    ‘Chrustchurch ’?…

    NO airline has traffic rights, if you know what that means, PERCHC, so it’s NOT going to happen.

    Your business’ situation is of no concern to any Country, State, City, or Carrier.
    There are billions’ of people worldwide in the same predicament.

  • Chris Mallouhi

    says:

    Why cant there be hotel quarantine free lights from the South Island To Australia. I am in a covid free place, never been a case, and want to go to an infested Aussie city. More likely to catch it in Aussie quarantine than here. Why not flights from Christchurch or Queenstown, or even transiting from Wellington, to home isolation in Australia?

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