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Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Booming interest in Canberra’s proposed Trans-Tasman flights

Over 3,000 people have registered their interest in the possible Trans-Tasman flights on Canberra Airport’s website since the portal went live on Thursday last week (4 June).

The airport announced it had been working with the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry to propose the restart of no-quarantine flights between Canberra and Wellington as early as 1 July.

Canberra Airport’s Head of Aviation Michael Thomson said he was not surprised to see that level of interest in the Trans-Tasman flights. 

“We launched a registration of interest and it was a terrific response from that. We have had over 3,000 individual responses which represents around 4,500 people,” he said.

“There is obviously a real appetite to fly but we recognise it has to be safe to do so.”

Canberra and Wellington were originally proposed as suitable destinations because neither town had a confirmed case of COVID-19.

However, ACT recorded a positive test for the virus over the weekend for the first time since 4 May.

Mr Thomson said he hoped the case would not deter the government from considering the Trans-Tasman flight proposal. 

“We would hope that the circumstances around that case are taken into consideration given it’s fairly unique,” he said. 

“It was bought in from overseas, it isn’t from community transmission and they are isolating so we don’t believe that should impact the safety of Canberra.” 

The business plan was proposed in collaboration with Wellington and Auckland business chambers but received hesitation from New Zealand’s Federal Government. 

Following the launch of the proposal, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern stated there was more “progress required” until the flights could restart.

Mr Thomson said he was still hopeful the flights would commence by 14 July.

“We have to respect their sovereignty in making decisions. We hope a continuation of comfort from medical authorities will bring that timeline forward,” he said.

“We may have to push the date back a little bit but it’s up to the comfort of the Government authorities now. “We would love to see the bubble opening between 1 and 14 July.”

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