Brisbane Airport welcomes two-way trans-Tasman travel bubble

Airside Operations (15)

Monday, 19 April 2021: The distance between Brisbane Airport and the land of the long white cloud will feel a lot smaller today, with the commencement of two-way quarantine-free travel between Brisbane and New Zealand for the first time in 12 months.

Brisbane Airport will have 13 ‘Green Lane’ services today, with Air New Zealand and Qantas facilitating a combined six arrivals and seven departures connecting BNE to Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch.

Around 1,800 seats are scheduled to operate each way today, with services forecast to be around 80 per cent full.

Gert-Jan de Graaff, Brisbane Airport Corporation (BAC) CEO, said the travel bubble is vitally important as New Zealand is one of Queensland’s most important international markets.

“Today is an incredible day for the many families and friends who will be able to reunite, but also for the thousands of businesses in Brisbane, the regions, and across Queensland who rely on tourism.

“Brisbane Airport will welcome flights from Christchurch and Wellington for the first time since 28 March 2020, some 387 days, which, for us, it has felt almost as long as the last time the Wallabies won the Bledisloe Cup.”

Mr de Graaff said BAC is expecting strong ‘Visiting Friends and Family’ travel to drive demand within the first few weeks of the travel bubble but concedes other sectors of the travel market will take longer to come back.

“The initial pent-up demand has resulted in 40 services operating between Brisbane and New Zealand this week, and we expect leisure flows to peak in the mid-year school holidays and again at Christmas and New Year.

We have no doubt that Queenslanders will continue to welcome our Kiwi brothers and sisters with open arms as they did throughout the one-way bubble, but the reality is that we will still only have just over a third of pre-COVID capacity between Brisbane and New Zealand.

“High-yield travellers such as the corporate and conference sectors will not return in the same way just yet.”

Mr de Graaff said while this ‘bubble’ is important, it is not enough on its own.

“We have some way to go to safeguard the livelihoods of businesses in Brisbane and across Queensland who rely on tourism. 

To protect the ‘bubble’ and to make real the possibility of opening to more international markets, we need to get Australia’s vaccination rollout back on track and firing on all cylinders. We need all levels of government and the industry to work together to make this happen. “ 

In 2019, around 1.5 million passengers flew between BNE and New Zealand, with more than 100 flights each week and five airlines operating services to five New Zealand cities (Auckland, Christchurch, Wellington, Dunedin, and Queenstown).