Published on : Friday, October 16, 2020
Australia has recently opened a limited trans-Tasman travel bubble with New Zealand following which the very first flight from New Zealand recently landed in Australia. This was the first commercial flight between the two countries in seven months ever since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Both Australia and New Zealand closed their borders back in March during the peak of the coronavirus outbreak. However, a limited reopening is currently underway for the countries.
All passengers arriving in New South Wales and the Northern Territory in Australia will not be required to undergo quarantine as New Zealand is currently reporting zero cases but passengers on the return trip will be asked to self-isolate on arrival in New Zealand. Passengers will have to pay for their own quarantine in a hotel when they return to New Zealand. The travel bubble is currently one-sided with no Australian passengers allowed enter New Zealand and applies only to the state of New South Wales and the Northern Territory.
Australian authorities have also mentioned that they are looking forward to extend the bubble to different states soon. Australia and New Zealand are among the first countries in the Asia-Pacific region that have loosened restrictions on international travel. Under the recent deal, all New Zealanders can travel quarantine-free to Australia if they have not been to a COVID-19 hotspot for 14 days. There will be 16 flights between the two countries each week, with trips offered by Jetstar, Qantas, Air New Zealand and Qatar Airways. All passengers from New Zealand would be separated from other passengers, who will be required to spend two weeks in quarantine.
Geoff Culbert, Chief Executive Officer, Sydney Airport said in a statement that the latest move could be considered as a phased approach. Therefore, it can be considered that the limited restart of travel between Australia and New Zealand could be an early indication of a slight recovery for the travel industry in the Asia-Pacific region especially with Singapore and Hong Kong’s recent move of reopening borders and exempting travellers from stringent quarantine restrictions.