Australia and New Zealand could form two-way 'travel bubble' within months, says Qantas chief

Holidays abroad could soon be on the cards, with a New Zealand 'travel bubble' likely to be announced early in the new year, according to the CEO of Qantas.

Speaking on morning television, Alan Joyce told viewers Qantas is preparing for borders between the two neighbours to reopen in the first few months of 2021.

"We've always believed in the possibility of these 'bubbles' between nations," he said.

"At the way we're going in Australia, New Zealand could open in the early new year in both directions – that's a massive market for everybody."

While Kiwis are currently permitted to travel to the states of New South Wales, South Australia and the Northern Territory, New Zealand's strict quarantine rules mean they must isolate at a designated hotel for 14 days at a cost of up to $NZ3,100 ($A2,945) per person upon return, while Australian holidaymakers are barred from entering the country.

Previous attempts to create a Trans-Tasman travel bubble began in May, with politicians on both sides targetting a new travel arrangement by Christmas 2020. 

But plans were scuppered after several Australian states saw the number of Covid-19 cases spike over winter, while New Zealand, pursuing a strategy to eliminate the virus completely, tightened its border controls.

Now, the imminent rollout of a new vaccine has reignited hopes that both countries will soon be able to resume international travel, with long-haul trips now a prospect for the second half of next year.

Qantas is confident that this will be the case, and is now working on plans to bring its larger planes out of storage in preparation for when restrictions are lifted.

Advertisement

"We've always planned that by July next year we will start reactivating our long-haul international aircraft and get a lot of our people back to work," said Mr Joyce.

"The news about the vaccines is very positive, which I think is great for that border reopening plan."

The possibility of borders reopening in the next few months will come as particularly welcome news, after the Government warned only last month that international travel would be unlikely until the end of 2021.

The Telegraph, London

Last Qantas A380 makes final flight ahead of desert storage

Qantas retires iconic 747 jumbo jets immediately, and deep-stores A380s

Comments