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An Air New Zealand Boeing 777-300 at Los Angeles International Airport. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | William Derrickson)

Air New Zealand Planning More Australia Flights as Quarantine Period Set To Be Lifted

After a seven-month hiatus, the Australian government announced that New Zealand citizens are granted to travel New South Wales and Northern Territory without a 14-day quarantine. The new policy begins on Oct. 16 as New Zealand’s coronavirus curve has been flattened. However, Australians are not being allowed to travel to New Zealand at the moment, and travelers still need to quarantine after returning to New Zealand..

In response to the latest arrangement, Greg Foran, Chief Executive of Air New Zealand said, “Kiwis wanting to reconnect with families and friends in Northern Territory and New South Wales will welcome this news and we look forward to hearing more about a complete Tasman safe zone soon.”

Earlier, Foran forecasted the travel agreements between two countries could not be reached until next March. “If it comes back quicker, we’re going to pop some champagne,” he added.

“This is the first stage in what we hope to see as a trans-Tasman bubble between the two countries, stopping not just that state and that territory,” Michael McCormack, the Australian Deputy Prime Minister said.

According to local media, Air New Zealand has already opened more than 12,000 seats to Sydney after Australia’s announcement.

Auckland, the largest city in New Zealand, experienced a second wave of the COVID-19 last month, but cases have since dropped. The government has announced the restriction in Auckland will be lifted on Wednesday.

Australia’s borders have been closed since the pandemic began, and Victoria has been facing another spike of COVID-19 cases since July.

In the meantime, Air New Zealand has received a loan of $72.2 million from the government, per Reuters. The struggling airline forecast it would burn through $43. million to $56.5 million a month under current conditions. Earlier, the airline posted a loss of $57.6 million, its first loss in 18 years.

“With the outlook for future passenger demand clearly uncertain, and highly dependent on the removal of travel restrictions both here in New Zealand and globally, we know that Air New Zealand will continue to be a smaller business for some time to come,” Dame Therese Walsh, Air New Zealand’s chairman, said.

Earlier, Air New Zealand grounded its Boeing 777 fleet until next September as a result of the pandemic. The airline believed the demand of the international network and long-haul travel after COVID-19 is looking to be slower than initially thought. The airline will fly its international schedule with the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, a more fuel-efficient aircraft, along with A320 and A320/21neos for trans-Tasman and Pacific Island routes.

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