Qatar Airways has announced it is extending its Australian schedule by launching a new route from Adelaide to Auckland, New Zealand.
The news coincides with New Zealand’s borders finally lifting to Australians for the first time on Tuesday since the trans-Tasman bubble was paused last July.
According to Adelaide Airport managing director Brenton Cox, this service has received “plenty of interest” due to strong outbound bookings.
Made effective on 12 April, the Boeing 777-300ER will fly from Doha, Qatar to Adelaide and then to Auckland, scheduled to operate three times a week.
This additional route will see Qatar Airways operate 34 weekly flights to Australia, according to the South Australian Tourism Commission.
“It’s wonderful that Qatar Airways has tagged its Doha-Auckland service through Adelaide, which means with the New Zealand border reopening, travellers can immediately fly direct between Adelaide and Auckland,” said Cox.
“It’s also great news for our local exporters seeking direct aviation freight links with one of our major trading partners.”
As of 11:59pm on Tuesday, 11 April, Australians citizens and residents from anywhere in the world were once again free to enter New Zealand without entering government-mandated managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ).
Instead, fully vaccinated Aussies must simply present either a negative PCR COVID-19 test within 48 hours of departing for New Zealand, or a supervised rapid antigen test (RAT) within 24 hours.
Upon arrival in New Zealand, travellers will be provided an additional two RATs to be taken on day 0/1 and 5/6 of their travel.
All travellers must also complete a travel declaration prior to entering the country.
The first flight to touch down from Australia following the easing of restrictions was a Qantas Boeing 737, performing flight QF157 from Melbourne, which departed just after 7:30pm and landed at Auckland International Airport at 12:49am, less than one hour after the border opened.
Qatar Airways was one of the only international carriers to maintain its flights to Australia throughout the pandemic, carrying over 330,000 passengers in and out of the country since March 2020.
The Doha-based carrier has been operating flights to Adelaide since May 2016, and according to Minister for Tourism Zoe Bettison, the new route extension signaled a “much-longed” return to two-way travel with New Zealand.
“I know the South Australian Tourism Commission has been very active in this space all the way through the pandemic, making sure South Australia remains top of mind for Kiwis wanting a holiday,” she said.
“Pre-COVID, a record 43,000 trips were made by Kiwis – now we can welcome more of our friends from across the ditch, tempt them with our great wineries, vast outback, the beaches and the Murray River, and look forward to showing them around more of SA than ever.
“It is terrific that we will see New Zealanders be able to reconnect with friends and family, as well as open up business travel and leisure visitors, who are keen to have a much-deserved holiday.”