Trans-Tasman Super Rugby looking likely as travel bubble announced

Rodiano Bonacci
Aprile 7, 2021

Australians will be able to from 19 April, however Virgin Australia won't be offering flights until October.

After several false starts, the long-touted Trans-Tasman travel bubble between Australia and New Zealand is now a reality.

The risk remains that quarantine-free travel could be paused or even suspended if COVID cases re-emerged in a particular state in Australia, with that state removed from the "green zone" travel category if required.

Australia and New Zealand's governments have announced that quarantine-free travel can resume between the two countries from the 19th of April, for the first time since the pandemic began.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Tuesday confirmed that the corridor would open on April. 19, giving SANZAAR, New Zealand Rugby and Rugby Australia just over five weeks to ensure that the competition can begin as scheduled in the middle of May.

Ardern has also outlined situations in which the travel bubble would remain in-tact, as well as situations in which it would be paused.

"For instance, if a case is found that is quite clearly linked to a border worker in a quarantine facility and is well contained, you'll likely see travel continue in the same way as you could see life continue if that happened here in Australia", explained Ardern.

"We absolutely wish to encourage family and friends to reunite and visitors to come and enjoy the hospitality New Zealand is ready and waiting to offer", she said, but cautioned that "people will need to plan for the possibility of travel being disrupted if there is an outbreak".

Trans-Tasman Travel Bubble: New Zealand Open For Aussies This Month
Trans-Tasman Super Rugby looking likely as travel bubble announced

"And if we saw multiple cases of unknown origin, we would likely suspend flights for a set period of time".

A Jetstar Airbus A320 in position to receive fuel from a Qantas Boeing 747-400ER at Auckland Airport.

"Our consumer research suggests Australians are eager to get on an aircraft and start travelling again with nearly 80 per cent of Australians supportive of creating travel bubbles with countries where levels of COVID-19 are low", chief executive James Goodwin said.

Travellers will be asked to wear masks on the plane, and to download New Zealand's contact-tracing app for use in the country. Random temperature checks will be carried out on arriving passengers.

"This is an important step forward in our Covid response and represents an arrangement I do not believe we have seen in any other part of the world", Ardern said in a press conference.

Virgin Australia said it will not be operating flights to New Zealand during the bubble, citing "border requirements which add complexity to our business".

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

The idea of the travel bubble has been in the news for almost 12 months but has previously been scuttled due to outbreaks.

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