Sunday , May 16 2021

Transtasman bubble: airports, airlines ready

A two-way bubble would open Australia for New Zealand holidaymakers. Photo / Supplied

Airports and airlines are preparing for the delayed announcement about the timing of a quarantine-free transtasman bubble with red and green areas in place and increased capacity already in the system.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will make an announcement on Tuesday about the deal with Australia. A two-way bubble with the Cook Islands is scheduled to begin sometime in May.

Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson has said last week’s community outbreak in Queensland would not change the timing of a bubble, but it was an example of why the government had devoted its time to making its procedures correct.

In the event of an outbreak, New Zealand could take a state-by-state approach. NZ Airports says its members “couldn’t be more enthusiastic” about making quarantine-free trips to Australia and the Cook Islands.

“They have long been prepared to meet red and green passenger separation requirements and health requirements such as cleaning and signage, and I am sure they will get any final signature from the authorities in a short time,” he said. CEO Kevin Ward.

Booking site Bachcare reports an increase in Australians booking before a bubble opening.

Air New Zealand plans to operate additional quarantine-free flights from Auckland to Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane from 12 April to 18 April. The airline will increase frequencies from Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown to the nine Australian ports from 19 April to 30 October. , which initially operated at 65% of pre-Covid-19 capacity.

Auckland in Hobart, a tenth destination, will not be available for sale until a safe, two-way travel zone has been announced.

Qantas has been doing skeleton service for the past year, but says with subsidiary Jetstar that it will add “significantly” more flights between Australia and New Zealand via various routes, which will fly to all its pre-Covid destinations.

It will initially guide frequent travelers when a two-way bubble starts. Travelers from New Zealand have been able to enter many Australian states without quarantine, but those arriving in that country are required to quarantine for 14 days.

Olivia Wirth, head of Qantas Loyalty.  Photo / Supplied
Olivia Wirth, head of Qantas Loyalty. Photo / Supplied

Qantas and Jetstar will offer frequent travelers in the “Classic Flight Reward” seats uncovered during the first three days of travel when the bubble opens.

” Once the start date is confirmed, thousands of seats can be reserved in all cabins to be booked as classic flight rewards during the 72-hour travel period. Customers can also afford these seats. “

Qantas Loyalty executive director Olivia Wirth said the initiative will reward Australian and New Zealand members of the program who have continued to maintain their point balance during the pandemic in anticipation of the resumption of international travel.

“Our members have been storing points during Covid for exactly these opportunities and we want to help facilitate the boarding of one of the first international flights,” Wirth said.

During the rest of the year, there will also be more reward seats available, including peak periods, such as Christmas and school holidays, on trans-Tasmanian flights from Qantas.

“Eighty percent of Qantas frequent travelers have said they want to use the points they’ve been accumulating during the trips,” Worth said.

Air New Zealand has long been preparing to begin the two-way journey between that country and the Cook Islands and through Tasmania.

This included hiring and retraining more than 300 cabin crew, retrieving various airport staff, incorporating ground handlers to ensure a smooth process for our aircraft and customers on arrival. and the reopening of international venues.

Flights from the Cook Islands and Australia, in particular, will be a key part of Air New Zealand’s financial recovery, although it still faces a sharp year-round loss.

In February, it carried only 12,000 passengers on Tasmanian and Pacific routes, 95.7% of the 283,000 it carried the same month last year, just as it hit the pandemic.

Its long-haul network (approximately 40% of its business) has been largely wiped out by the pandemic and it will fight to restart it this year.

In 2019 Air New Zealand had 37 per cent of the capacity share in Tasmania, Qantas had 26 per cent, Virgin Australia 18 per cent, Jetstar 10 per cent and the remaining 9 per cent was distributed among other airlines.

Virgin Australia withdrew from Tasman 12 months ago, but returns and sells seats from June.

Flight Center says it has experienced an increase in customer consultation for Australia and the Cook Islands, as well as some advance bookings, especially for those who have been looking forward to the opportunity to visit friends and family safely.

“We have had a large number of customers who booked a route to Australia after the release of capacity from trans-tasman airlines, many with the intention of booking a return flight once the government confirms the dates,” said a company representative.

There is some concern about possible blockages, which are not currently covered by any travel insurance policy, but Flight Center’s CoverMore insurance provider offers coverage for most other Covid-19-related outages, including a client or a close contact who contracts the virus.

Bachcare spokeswoman Zaina Razzaq.  Photo / Supplied
Bachcare spokeswoman Zaina Razzaq. Photo / Supplied

Book the bach

New data shows an increase in Australia’s speculative reserves of bachs in New Zealand with an increase of 117% over the last month over the previous month.

Bachcare spokeswoman Zaina Razzaq said the figures showed a noticeable increase in Australian travelers investigating and booking accommodation across Tasmania, despite not having confirmation of a quarantine-free travel bubble.

She says that unlike previous years where the ski holiday was focused, new figures show that Australians are looking for regions known for their beaches, food and wine instead of places like Queenstown and Ohakune.

“At this time of year, we would normally see an influx of Australians booking accommodation for a winter holiday,” Razzaq said.

He said holiday home reservations across Tasmania are already being made this month, with others concentrated around the summer of 2022.

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