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Thursday, May 13, 2021

Canberra a possible hub for flights to New Zealand

Canberra Airport is inviting travellers to register their interest for flights between the Trans-Tasman bubble, proposing Canberra as the hub for in and outgoing flights starting as early as 1 July.

The Airport released a formal proposal in collaboration with the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry today, Thursday 4 June, detailing flights between Canberra and Wellington as the first to travel between the two countries.

Canberra Airport’s Head of Aviation, Michael Thomson, said the Airport had been working on the proposal for the past few weeks.

“Both ourselves and Wellington being COVID-19 free is a good start to breaking that bubble,” he said.

“One of the advantages of Wellington and Canberra airports is we don’t have a lot of repatriation flights coming through, so the airports are very clean.

“There has been no COVID-19 here (in Canberra) for four weeks now and none in Wellington for maybe longer that.”

The flights are proposed to begin on 1 and 2 July, although Mr Thomson said it would be subject to the relevant authorities.

“We will be driven by the health authorities’ response to our proposal, but we felt that putting a date in helped in focusing people’s attention,” he said.

“If it needs to be later as a result of health advice, we will work with the authorities on that to do our part and ensure it is safe to do so.”

The Canberra Airport website outlines the desire for two flights per day on 1 and 2 July, one each from Air New Zealand and Qantas.

Mr Thomson said they would hope for an incremental increase after that.

“We see this as starting small with a couple of flights in the first week and then maybe moving to daily flights after that,” he said. “Then of course moving to other major ports when it is safe.”

Talks of opening flights within the Trans-Tasman bubble have been ongoing in past weeks, although it was originally thought flights may not be available until September.

Canberra Airport’s website launched a portal for passengers to register their interest in the flights today, Thursday 4 June.

Mr Thomson said the Trans-Tasman flights would be a good opportunity to reopen business opportunities, recreational travel and visiting family and friends between the two countries. 

“I am told over 65,000 Australians are living in New Zealand and the timing would coincide with the start of school holidays,” he said.

“There is a symbolism as well of opening the travel path between the two nations.”

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