For anyone hoping to ski NZ from Australia this winter it’s hard to keep up. The travel bubble debate has been going backwards and forwards for almost a year now.
Today Qantas CEO Alan Joyce told a news conference he thinks a July bubble to NZ is feasible once frontline workers have been vaccinated. Which sounds reasonable to us. That’s the good news.
Qantas had previously put flights back on sale from July 1st, but then pushed that back to October following criticism from the Australian Government, who have the ultimate say on whether Aussies snow enthusiasts, and others, can leave the country.
“We’re in close consultation with government, and if things change, so will our dates,” Joyce said.
“But with the vaccine rollout already underway, we’re on the right track.”
But of course New Zealand still has to let us in quarantine free.
And we have to be able to come back quarantine free too.
With Qantas posting a record $AUD 1.08 billion loss today for the first 6 months of the financial year the sooner international flights get back on stream the better for them obviously.
Which brings us to the bad news.
A one way bubble has operated since October, mostly allowing Kiwi travellers to enter Australia without quarantine. But following a couple more cases in Auckland yesterday the Victorian government re-imposed mandatory 14 day quarantine from today, and Queensland and NSW governments have declared Auckland a hotspot.
Will Kiwis fly into other capitals and drive there? Who knows.
So on balance, another frustrating day for everyone waiting to get back skiing or riding in NZ.
Qantas additional flexibility and extension of credit vouchers
Qantas has today announced additional flexibility for international bookings to enable customers to book flights with confidence.
Qantas’ updated Fly Flexible policy (previously only available for domestic and Trans Tasman flights) now applies to international flights booked from today until at least the end of April 2021. The flight date can be changed to any available for sale at the time (up to 355 days in advance). Qantas will waive the change fee however a fare difference may apply.
Qantas has also extended credit vouchers to enable travel until 31 December 2023 on domestic or international flights, with Jetstar doing the same for vouchers issued due to COVID-19 disruptions.
Customers with international bookings impacted by cancellations will be contacted directly and offered alternatives.
For more on the network wide planned Qantas international flights resumption check our feature
Here’s today’s travel advice for NZ from the Australian Government:
|New Zealand In addition to the Australian Government restrictions for the Safe Travel Zone, some Australian states have implemented additional arrangements for travellers. For more details check arrangements with state health authorities or contact your airline. All of New Zealand is now at alert level 1. Face coverings are mandatory for all public transport and domestic flights in New Zealand. We continue to advise:Do not travel to New Zealand due to the health risks from the COVID-19 pandemic and the significant disruptions to global travel.