The first Air New Zealand quarantine-free flight to between NZ and the Queensland capital of Brisbane touches down today (Thursday).
Auckland-Brisbane flight NZ147 left Auckland at 7:40am (local time) this morning. The flight is available only to those passengers who have been in New Zealand for the preceding 14 days, and everyone on board must complete an Australia Travel Declaration form confirming that this is the case.
Quarantine-free status still only applies one way
The quarantine-free status still only applies one way, however. Passengers arriving on the flight who wish to return to New Zealand at a later date will still be required to enter quarantine when they arrive back in Auckland.
And not all flights from Auckland into Brisbane will enjoy quarantine-free status, the airline has emphasised.
“We currently operate five return flights per week between Auckland and Brisbane – three of these services will be quarantine-free flights, while the remaining two will be quarantine flights. Quarantine flights are not able to be booked by people beginning their journey in New Zealand,” explained Air NZ spokesperson, Leanne Geraghty.
Air NZ working closely with Aussie authorities
“Our teams have been working closely with authorities in Australia to ensure all agencies are satisfied processes are in place to confidently accept quarantine-free flights, and we thank customers for their patience while we’ve worked with various agencies in Australia to ensure we can keep everyone safe.”
The Auckland-Brisbane flights will operate similarly to Air New Zealand’s Sydney and Melbourne routes, with separate flights for those who meet the Safe Travel Zone criteria, Geraghty said.
Passengers arriving on the quarantine-free flights have also been reminded that if they wish to travel to parts of Australia outside their state of arrival, they will still need to comply with any quarantine measures imposed to the other states or territories.
Qld is home to more Kiwis than any other state
Today’s first flight into Brisbane follows the announcement by Queensland Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, in December that the state was reopening its borders to New Zealanders.
At the time, she noted that Qld is home to more New Zealanders than any other state in Australia.
“We are hoping that eventually New Zealanders will not have to do hotel quarantine upon return, and then there would be free-flowing movement between the two [regions],” she said.