Today is the day, folks!
As of midnight last night, the two-way trans-Tasman bubble is open, meaning Aussies and Kiwis can travel between Australia and New Zealand quarantine-free.
Regular flights between the two countries resumed today after more than a year of border closures.
“Today’s milestone is a win-win for Australians and New Zealanders, boosting our economies while keeping our people safe and just in time for ANZAC Day,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.
“Both countries have done a remarkable job in protecting our communities from COVID and two-way flights are an important step in our road out.”
“It is truly exciting to start quarantine-free travel with Australia. Be it returning family, friends or holidaymakers, New Zealand says welcome and enjoy yourself.” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.
“The bubble marks a significant step in both countries reconnection with the world and it’s one we should all take a moment to be very proud of.”
Qantas said in a release that flights to all pre-COVID destinations in New Zealand across 15 routes would resume and the airline will today start a new route between the Gold Coast and Auckland, marking the airline’s first-ever international flights from Gold Coast Airport.
Jetstar’s first departure JQ201 from Sydney to Auckland at 6:15am operated with its Airbus A320 aircraft, while Qantas’ first departure out of Sydney was QF143 to Auckland at 9:05am with its Airbus A330 aircraft.
Both flights landed in Auckland at close to full capacity, including a full Business cabin on Qantas.
Qantas’ first flight from Australia to New Zealand is QF151 Melbourne to Auckland departed at 8am.
Speaking from Sydney International Airport to farewell departing passengers, Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said the opening of the two-way travel bubble was a significant milestone for both countries.
“Quarantine-free travel has been almost 400 days in the making.” he said.
“Reopening these flights across the Tasman is a very important milestone in the recovery from the pandemic for Australia and New Zealand but also aviation and tourism.”
Brisbane Airport has also been vocal about its enthusiasm for the opening of the two-way trans-Tasman bubble by opening 16 ‘green lane’ services today, with Air New Zealand and Qantas facilitating a combined eight arrivals and eight departures connecting Brisbane to Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch.
Around 1,800 seats are scheduled to operate each way today out of Brissy airport, with services forecast to be around 80 per cent full.
Brisbane Airport Corporation CEO Gert-Jan de Graaff, said the two-way travel bubble was vital with New Zealand being one of Queensland’s most important international markets.
“Today is an incredible day for the many families and friends who will be able to reunite, but also for the thousands of businesses in Brisbane, the regions, and across Queensland who rely on tourism,” he said.
“Brisbane Airport will welcome flights from Christchurch and Wellington for the first time since 28 March 2020, some 387 days, which, for us, it has felt almost as long as the last time the Wallabies won the Bledisloe Cup.”
APT Travel Group is among the wholesalers providing big discounts on New Zealand trips to celebrate the bubble.
Travelmarvel’s 15 Day New Zealand Getaway starts from just $4,245 per person twin share, including savings of up to $1,500 per couple when booking before 15 May 2021.
APT’s 7-Day New Zealand Wonderland tour loops around both the North and South Island’s best destinations, and is priced from $6,745 per person twin share, including a $1,500 saving per couple when booking before 15 May 2021. The brand is also offering two new small-ship expedition cruises in New Zealand waters.
Plus, ATG specialty botanical brand Botanica World Discoveries is also offering enticing NZ getaways with the chance to see the Taranaki Garden Spectacular in October 2021 on the nine-day NZ Taranaki Garden Spectacular and Private Gardens tour from Plymouth to Christchurch from $5,295.
Featured image source: Twitter/Brisbane Airport