The New Zealand government has extended its suspension of quarantine-free travel from Australia and says it will review the situation again in November. The hope is that a new trans-Tasman arrangement can be made to reunite loved ones for Christmas.
New Zealand has extended the trans-Tasman travel pause, with Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson announcing the country would next review the bubble’s viability in mid-November.
Mr Robertson said the infectious nature of the Delta variant, present in uncontained outbreaks in NSW and Victoria, led to the decision.
“Decisions we make about everything COVID are led by a health response,” Mr Robertson said.
“We are pushing out for another eight weeks and will re-assess.”
The trans-Tasman bubble was established in April when New Zealand opened its border to travellers from Australia, some six months after Australia did so.
COVID-19 outbreaks in various Australian states led NZ to pause the travel corridor several times.
In mid-July, Jacinda Ardern announced an eight-week severing of the link as the NSW outbreak grew.
It will stay on hold for another eight weeks and be reviewed in mid-November, just prior to Christmas.
Air New Zealand will be operating a limited number of quarantine flights between Australia and New Zealand to help get people home.
For customers flying to Australia
The Australian Government has provided Air New Zealand with a limited number of managed isolation spaces meaning the airline can now operate a handful of quarantine flights to help get people back to Australia.
All current flights from New Zealand to Australia between 25 September and 30 November will be cancelled. Customers will receive a cancellation email later today and be given a credit for their flight.
The quarantine flights from New Zealand to Australia will be available to book from 10 am NZT, Monday 20 September.
Once customers have booked their flight, they will automatically receive a MIQ room allocation. The cost of mandatory isolation is not included in the flight booking.
Flights will be available for customers to book via the Air New Zealand website.
For customers flying to New Zealand
For New Zealanders wanting to return home from Australia, the airline will be operating quarantine flights for customers who secure a MIQ space made available by the New Zealand Government.
All current flights from Australia to New Zealand between 25 September and 30 November will be cancelled. Customers will receive a cancellation email later today and be given a credit for their flight.
The airline’s quarantine flights from Australia to New Zealand will be available to book following the release of the Government’s managed isolation rooms at 9 am NZT, Monday 20 September.
Air New Zealand asks that customers please align their MIQ booking with a day that matches the airline’s new schedule. Customers will have 48 hours to book their flights following securing a MIQ room.
Air New Zealand Chief Customer and Sales Officer Leanne Geraghty says so long as there are MIQ spaces available in either Australia and/or New Zealand, the airline will continue to operate flights to reconnect customers with their friends and whānau.
“We understand this continues to be a very distressing time for people trying to get home. We’re committed to doing everything we can to get customers back to where they need to be as safely and quickly as possible.
“Our teams have worked tirelessly to get these managed return flights up and running so we can reconnect customers with their loved ones. Should we receive additional allocations, these will be made available for customers to book online-only, and we recommend that customers continue to check our website for updates.”
Once the quarantine flight schedule is confirmed, it will be available to view on the Air New Zealand Travel Alerts page.
All travellers will be required to spend two weeks in quarantine.
Share this story