MIAMI – “Dig out your passport, Air New Zealand (NZ) is reuniting Kiwis and Kangaroos,” NZ’s press release begins, announcing the establishment of an air travel bubble between New Zealand and Australia.

Effective April 19, NZ is set to increase flights from Auckland (AKL), Wellington (WLG), Christchurch (CHC) and Queenstown (ZQN), and eight Australian destinations.

Air New Zealand has been working hard to prepare for this Trans-Tasman event by calling back furloughed crew, making sure they are trained and prepared, checking that airports staff and lounges are ready to meet the expected large amount of customers excited to be able to get across the “ditch” and enjoy travel they have been deprived for one long year.

Qantas VH-ZND Boeing 787-9 Yam Dreaming livery. Photo: Aidan Pullino/Airways

Comments from Air New Zealand CEO

The carrier’s CEO Greg Foran, took part in the excitement, saying, “I’ll certainly be digging out my passport for the first time since I joined the airline to head across the ditch to see my family and I’m especially looking forward to meeting some of my grandchildren for the first time.”

He also thanked all New Zealanders for supporting NZ for a long year, during which it had become a merely domestic airline, and added that NZ was proud to have such a “robust domestic business” compared to other airlines in the world.

Before the pandemic started, Australia was a main market both for NZ and New Zealand and the Trans-Tasman flights being resumed will contribute to New Zealand economic recovery.

Health measures will continue to be applied and passengers required to wear a face mask during travel while screen ing questions would be asked prior to check-in.

Air New Zealand ZK-OKH Boeing 777-219(ER). Photo: Misael Ocasio Hernandez/Airways

A well Structured Schedule

AucklandStart dateFrequency
Brisbane19 April 1 – 2 flights per day 
Melbourne 19 April 1 – 3 flights per day 
Sydney19 April3 – 5 flights per day
Perth19 April (subject to approval)6 – 7 flights per week
Gold Coast19 April6 – 7 flights per week
Adelaide5 May3 – 4 flights per week
Sunshine Coast28 June3 flights per week
Cairns29 June3 flights per week
HobartTBC2 flights per wee
Image : Air New Zealand
WellingtonStart dateFrequency
Brisbane19 April 3 – 5 flights per week 
Melbourne 19 April 4 – 6 flights per week 
Sydney19 April6 – 10 flights per week
Image : Air New Zealand
Christchurch Start dateFrequency
Brisbane 19 April 5 – 7 flights per week 
Melbourne 19 April 6 – 7 flights per week 
Sydney19 April7 – 11 flights per week
Gold Coast24 April1 – 3 flights per week
Image : Air New Zealand
Queenstown Start dateFrequency
Melbourne 19 April 3 – 5 flights per week 
Sydney 19 April 4 – 7 flights per week 
Brisbane5 May3 flights per week
Image : Air New Zealand
Qantas Boeing B737-800 VH-VZF – Photo : Noah Pitkin/Airways

On the Australian Side

The same excitement can be felt in Australia, as Qantas (QF) press release titled, “Pack your Jandals Kiwi Holidays are Back” announces a total of 122 return flights per week across the Tasman sea operated both by QF and Jetstar (JQ) covering all pre-pandemic destinations plus two new ones.

Qantas Domestic and International CEO, Andrew David, said that Australians and New Zealanders have since long a very cłose relationship which was interrupted by the pandemic.

On this subject, he added, “restarting flights to New Zealand is about more than starting to rebuild our international network, it’s about reconnecting families and friends and getting more of our people back flying again”.

Jetstar VH-VGV Airbus A320-232. Photo: Noah Pitkin/Airways

Qantas, Jetstar Schedule

Qantas schedule includes year-round direct flights to AKL, WLG, CHC and ZQN including direct flights from Brisbane (BNE) and Melbourne (MEL) to ZQN, routes which QF traditionally only operated seasonally for the ski season peak.

A new daily service from the Gold Coast to AKL will commence when the bubble opens, marking QF first ever international flights from Gold Coast Airport. The new Cairns-Auckland route will launch in early June, operating three days per week. Flights will initially operate for eight weeks until late July, and QF will look to add more flights beyond this period if there is demand.

Qantas will operate a mix of Boeeing 737 and Airbus 330 on these routes. The latter will offer QF customers its award winning Business suite.

Jetstar will initially operate to AKL from MEL, Gold Coast and SYD using its Airbus A320 aircraft, with schedules of both airlines connecting on to Jetstar’s New Zealand domestic network of more than 120 return flights per week to five destinations. JQ will resume flights on the remainder of its pre-COVID routes from the middle of the year.

Featured image: Air New Zealand Airbus A321-2300 ZK-NNF – Photo : James Kirkland/Airways