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New Zealand scraps pre-flight testing

written by Hannah Dowling | June 16, 2022

An Air New Zealand A321-271 NX, ZK-NNC, as shot by Victor Pody
An Air New Zealand A321-271 NX, ZK-NNC, as shot by Victor Pody

The New Zealand government has scrapped its requirements for all travellers into the country to return a negative COVID-19 test prior to departure.

As of 11:59pm on Monday 20 June, travellers entering New Zealand from anywhere in the world will no longer be required to first present a negative result before boarding their flight, reducing the stress of travelling and saving time at check-in.

However, any flight that departs before 11:59pm on this date — even if it lands after the deadline — will still be subject to pre-flight testing.

Those that do require a test can provide a negative PCR result taken within 48 hours of departure, or a negative supervised Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) taken within 24 hours.

Travellers entering the country will still be subject to vaccination requirements and will need to conduct two RATS after arriving in New Zealand.

Auckland Airport welcomed the decision to remove pre-flight testing, stating it will help to drum up more demand for travel to New Zealand ahead of the July school holidays.

The airport’s general manager of customer and aeronautical commercial Scott Tasker said with 110,000 international arrivals due to touch down in Auckland over the two-week school holiday period, removing pre-flight testing will reduce both stress and cost for travellers.

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“For an Australian-based family considering their July school holiday options, New Zealand is now back in the running alongside destinations like Bali, Singapore, the US, Canada, Thailand, Fiji and the Cook Islands, which have dropped pre-departure tests for vaccinated travellers,” Tasker said.

“We’ve also got a raft of international routes coming back in July – Air New Zealand is restarting its services to Adelaide, Cairns, Hobart, Sunshine Coast, Papeete, Noumea, Honolulu, and Houston, Hawaiian Airlines with its Honolulu connection, and Air Tahiti Nui to Los Angeles via Papeete — which is really opening up options for travellers to and from New Zealand.

“It’s great news to have the pre-departure test requirements removed ahead of these kicking off.”

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From July, a total of 18 airlines will be flying to and from Auckland, connecting the city to 33 international destinations.

Seat capacity to and from the airport has now hit 48 per cent of 2019 levels, Auckland Airport said.

It comes after the country reopened its international borders to tourists from dozens of visa-waiver countries.

As of 11:59pm on 1 May, fully-vaccinated arrivals from nearly 60 countries around the globe, including the UK, US, Canada, and much of Europe, are now free to enter New Zealand without entering hotel quarantine.

It marked the next major step in New Zealand’s border reopening roadmap, after quarantine requirements for Australian citizens and residents were lifted two weeks prior.

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