Qantas and Jetstar will operate 83% of their pre-COVID capacity in New Zealand when the two-way Trans-Tasmanian bubble launches on April 19

The airline group also announced that it will launch two new routes from Auckland to Cairns and the Gold Coast in addition to restarting all of its traditional routes between the two countries

It comes after Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern revealed on Tuesday afternoon that the bubble would launch shortly but could be interrupted at short notice, forcing Virgin to refuse to fly on most routes until October 31

The Qantas Group has revealed that it will operate up to 122 round-trip flights per week through Tasmania on 15 routes, or 52,000 seats each week It was operating at just 3% of its pre-COVID capacity during the ‘current one-way arrangement

A new daily service from the Gold Coast to Auckland will also begin when the bubble opens, marking Qantas’ first international flights from Queensland Airport

A second new route, Cairns-Auckland, will also launch in time for the June long weekend, running three days a week Flights will initially operate for nine weeks until the end of July, and Qantas has said it could potentially add more flights beyond this period depending on demand.

Qantas National and International CEO Andrew David said: “We know Australians are keen to return overseas, so we expect high demand for flights to New Zealand and many more. Kiwis can’t wait to get away in winter warmer weather in Australia “

Qantas’ new schedule will include year-round direct flights to Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown, as well as direct flights from Brisbane and Melbourne to Queenstown, typically operated seasonally for peak ski season

Jetstar will initially serve Auckland from Melbourne, the Gold Coast and Sydney using its A320s, with both airlines’ schedules connecting to Jetstar’s New Zealand domestic network with more than 120 round-trip flights per week to five destinations The low-budget carrier will resume flights on the rest of its pre-COVID routes from mid-year

Qantas has also extended its travel credit policy, allowing customers who book flights before July 31, 2021 unlimited date changes at no cost when traveling before February 28, 2022 Jetstar offers the option to purchase “FareCredit”, which allows passengers to cancel flights for any reason

News arrives despite Virgin Australia’s surprising announcement that it will not serve most of its New Zealand routes until October 31 He followed Prime Minister Ardern warning passengers traveling to Australia to “anticipate the possibility of travel disrupted” in the event of a COVID outbreak

“For example, if a case is found that is quite clearly linked to a border worker in a quarantine facility and is well contained, you will likely see the journey continue in the same way you might see life go on if that was performing here in Australia ”, explained Prime Minister Ardern

“If, however, a case was discovered that was not clearly linked to the border and a state responded with a brief lockdown to identify more information, we would likely suspend flights from that state. the same way we would stop travel in and out of an area of ​​New Zealand as if it was going into a full lockdown

“And if we find multiple cases of unknown origin, we will probably suspend flights for a certain period”

A one-way ‘travel bubble’ first opened in October 2020, allowing kiwis to enter Australia without quarantine, but not the other way around

The two countries have indicated it will be reciprocal in the first quarter of 2021, but the move has been postponed due to numerous small outbreaks of COVID in the two countries

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World news – AU – Qantas to operate 83% of its pre-COVID capacity to New Zealand