Canberra Airport hopes to be trans-Tasman bubble port

Ian Bushnell 7 April 2021 51
Canberra Airport

Canberra Airport is in talks with Qantas and Air New Zealand about trans-Tasman services. Photo: File.

Canberra Airport is hoping to be included in the selected ports for the new two-way trans-Tasman air bubble, announced by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Tuesday (6 April).

It is believed that services will commence initially to Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, but Canberra Airport has been working behind the scenes with governments and airlines for months to be part of any Australia-NZ arrangement.

CEO Stephen Byron has said Canberra’s COVID-safe record made it the perfect choice to be a port of departure and arrival for trans-Tasman travel, for which there was huge pent-up demand.

He told Region Media that the Airport was looking at two destinations in the North Island.

“We believe that New Zealand will open to Australia on a state-by-state basis, and given the ACT’s impeccable response to the pandemic, we would hope to be a consideration for the New Zealand Government,” Mr Byron said.

“We are continuing discussions with Qantas and Air New Zealand, and we remain hopeful there is an opportunity to commence services between Canberra and Auckland or Canberra and Wellington.”


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Many Canberrans, deprived of overseas travel for more than a year, will jump at the chance of a New Zealand holiday, not to mention New Zealanders wanting to see family again after being grounded in Australia by the pandemic.

Last December, Mr Byron said the Airport was ready to roll with the airlines and had approvals in place with Australian Border Force for the operation of the terminal for New Zealand arrivals.

“All we need is the permission,” he said.

Chief Minister and Tourism Minister Andrew Barr said quarantine-free travel was a welcome outcome.

“The ACT Government has been involved in ongoing discussions with relevant aviation partners on Canberra-New Zealand flights,” he said.

Ms Ardern said Australian travellers would be allowed to enter NZ without mandatory hotel quarantine from 19 April, but she warned people to be prepared to have their travel plans changed at short notice if there is an outbreak, including landing and going into hotel quarantine.

Stephen Byron

Canberra Airport CEO Stephen Byron. Photo: Ian Bushnell.

Anyone flying into New Zealand will go through a “green zone” in airports and be kept separate from other people flying in from around the world.

Qantas and Jetstar will operate up to 122 return flights per week across the Tasman to all pre-COVID NZ destinations, as well as two new routes direct from Auckland to Cairns and the Gold Coast.

The Australian Airports Association said the long-awaited two-way travel bubble would provide a much-needed boost to the aviation and tourism sectors and help to increase the confidence of potential travellers.

Chief Executive James Goodwin said the new arrangement would allow Australians and New Zealanders to reconnect.

“We can expect to see a lot of emotional scenes at our airports in two weeks with many families and friends reunited after not seeing each other for more than a year,” Mr Goodwin said.

“Our consumer research suggests Australians are eager to get on an aircraft and start travelling again with almost 80 per cent of Australians supportive of creating travel bubbles with countries where levels of COVID-19 are low.”

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said it was tremendous that the bubble would be open in time for Anzac Day.

He said the bubble would mean more jobs and be a boost for the struggling travel industry.

The one-way bubble from New Zealand to Australia that began last October is still in place.


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51 Responses to Canberra Airport hopes to be trans-Tasman bubble port
Harish Chakravarthy Harish Chakravarthy 10:46 am 07 Apr 21

Nathalie no need to Sydney anymore I guess 😊

Bala Murali Bala Murali 11:03 am 07 Apr 21

What about the other countries really boring without International travels, atleast government can launch the vaccinations on quick pace.

Laisarn Leong Laisarn Leong 11:09 am 07 Apr 21

Jai-Lee Rainbow 🌈 interesting 🤔

Lou Coup Daz Smith Lou Coup Daz Smith 11:50 am 07 Apr 21

Yesssss to Wellington 🎉🎉🎉

Allison Lubransky-Moy Allison Lubransky-Moy 11:56 am 07 Apr 21

Wish they were considering the South Island Erica so we could go home!

Yolana Tylervite Yolana Tylervite 12:45 pm 07 Apr 21

Being coerced and bullied to wear a mask on the plane despite being exempt is not worth the trauma

    Sue O'Neill Loxton Sue O'Neill Loxton 6:56 pm 08 Apr 21

    Yolana Tylervite not being bullied or coerced at all. fact, airlines set their rules, if you don't like them, don't fly.

    Yolana Tylervite Yolana Tylervite 10:25 pm 08 Apr 21

    Sue O'Neill Loxton it’s enforced. No one should be forced to wear a face diaper that accumulates germs

Tarnelle Burndred Tarnelle Burndred 12:59 pm 07 Apr 21

Canberra to Auckland would be the overall better choice

kirjala kirjala 1:26 pm 07 Apr 21

Only a few weeks ago, Stephen Byron was calling lockdowns “despicable”. Now he is trying to freeload on the back of both countries’ incredible success at containing the virus – with lockdowns!!

Anita Ess Anita Ess 1:28 pm 07 Apr 21

Suzy La, let’s gooooo!!!

David Brown David Brown 2:46 pm 07 Apr 21

Make sure your travel insurance covers being locked down. Else it could prove expensive.

    Anne Stewart Anne Stewart 2:43 pm 08 Apr 21

    NO travel insurance avail in AUS covers being caught in a lockdown.... none FACT

    Sue O'Neill Loxton Sue O'Neill Loxton 6:54 pm 08 Apr 21

    I don't think there is any in any country tbh

    David Brown David Brown 8:15 am 09 Apr 21

    Anne Stewart well, that makes my decision much easier. 😉

Ol L Ol L 3:14 pm 07 Apr 21

People seem to have forgotten this airport is privately owned by one individual. Its simply a business not a public asset. Why feel sorry for these price gougers? look at the airport parking costs and landing fees debacle.

Meg Cavanagh Meg Cavanagh 4:07 pm 07 Apr 21

Fantastic news, any chance of Canberra to Christchurch?

Linda Stapleton Linda Stapleton 4:21 pm 07 Apr 21

ah yes what can go wrong

Dee-Ann Brown Dee-Ann Brown 4:27 pm 07 Apr 21

Canberra Auckland!

Carly Branch Carly Branch 4:53 pm 07 Apr 21

Andrew Morrow Martiné-Daniella Shaw Chaubet Stefan Ij Seiler it’s a sign

Capital Retro Capital Retro 5:15 pm 07 Apr 21

It only needs one prick to burst the bubble.

Haley Griffin Piliu Haley Griffin Piliu 5:20 pm 07 Apr 21

Yessss to Auckland!!!

Jacky Ersan Jacky Ersan 5:42 pm 07 Apr 21

Tahlia Low omg!!!! Round 2

Tracy Gorman Tracy Gorman 5:58 pm 07 Apr 21

This could be good for a lot of people.. Paula Russ Sheen

Francesco Merlino Francesco Merlino 6:04 pm 07 Apr 21

Yeah until the next cluster (i.e 2 cases) comes up 😂

    बजरङग बली बजरङग बली 7:51 pm 07 Apr 21

    Francesco Merlino hope not again

    Francesco Merlino Francesco Merlino 9:47 pm 07 Apr 21

    बजरङग बली we can only hope!

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