One-way quarantine free travel into Australia from New Zealand has officially begun.
Air New Zealand’s first flight from Auckland to Sydney since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic touched down at Kingsford Smith International Airport earlier today, heralding the launch of the Safe Travel Zone, the precursor to the much-anticipated Trans-Tasman “Travel Bubble.”
Under current arrangements, passengers flying from New Zealand will need to fill out a health declaration form stating that they have stayed within the country the preceding 14 days, and undergo temperature screening on arrival in Sydney, but they will no longer have to face mandatory quarantine.
In a statement, Air New Zealand CEO Greg Foran said, “It’s been a huge undertaking to ensure we are ready for this one-way arrangement. We know passengers onboard may have been waiting a long time to get back to New South Wales.” He added that around 90 percent of passengers on the first flight had been booked to travel one-way.
With the launch of the Safe Travel Zone, services on the Auckland–Sydney route are now being split into “quarantine” and “quarantine-free” flights. Foran said quarantine flights would be “open to passengers who do not meet the Safe Travel Zone criteria and will be required to quarantine on arrival in Australia.” As an extra precaution, travelers beginning their journeys in New Zealand are not eligible to book seats on these quarantine flights.
Air New Zealand says it is now operating eight return flights between Auckland and Sydney per week, and plans to make six of those quarantine-free. As of today, Kiwis can enter New South Wales, Canberra, and the Northern Territory without any period of self-isolation, but anyone who plans to travel interstate beyond those areas must abide by restrictions put in place by various state governments.
As the Safe Travel Zone is not a two-way arrangement, all those returning to New Zealand—including from Sydney—will still be required to quarantine for 14 days at their own expense in managed isolation accommodation provided by the government.
More information here.