Direct flights from Australia arrived at Wellington Airport this afternoon – for the first time in more than a year. An AirNZ flight from Sydney arrived at 1pm, and Qantas flights from Melbourne and Sydney arrived at 2.45 and 3.05. An AirNZ flight from Melbourne arrived at 7pm and a flight from Brisbane is due at half past midnight.
— WellingtonNZ (@Wellington_NZ) April 19, 2021
oh my god today has been so great pic.twitter.com/jCWWYTRnn2
— Ben McKay (@benmackey) April 19, 2021
— WellingtonNZ (@Wellington_NZ) April 19, 2021
News from Wellington Airport – April 18
Wellington is ready and waiting for its first trans-Tasman, quarantine-free flight scheduled to arrive from Sydney at 1pm on Monday. Preparations at Wellington International Airport are complete, hotels and operators have experienced a boost in bookings, while family and friends are primed for some emotional reunions.
Wellington Airport Chief Executive Steve Sanderson says Wellington Airport is delighted to provide a safe, warm and welcoming experience for international travellers after more than a year without international flights. “We are extremely excited to welcome our Australian guests and returning New Zealanders and can’t wait to see families and friends reunited again.”
Reuniting Australians and Kiwis are in for a treat with a special arrival at Wellington Airport. It includes live music and a big welcome event; special welcome messages and some spectacular new backdrops throughout the terminal.
There will also be a 250 metre by 12 metre Welcome Whānau and Tiaki promise mural on the grass at the northern end of the runway to greet flights and passengers arriving in Te Whanganui-a-Tara, with an audio Karanga and Karakia expressing warm sentiments of welcome and protection while in Aotearoa.
WellingtonNZ General Manager Anna Calver says Wellington and Wellingtonians are ready to provide a big kia ora – g’day to our friends and family from across the Tasman.
“We know that Wellington is an important destination for Australian travellers as a place to visit for an arts and cuisine-filled short break, an important business opportunity or event, and as a place to catch up with friends and family. We are buzzing over the fact that we can welcome our Australian whānau back and delighted there is a light at the end of a dark Covid tunnel for those local businesses hurting through a lack of international visitors.”
Weta Workshop has welcomed the opening of the trans-Tasman bubble which has led to an increase in bookings for their Weta Cave Workshop Tour and Miniature Effects Tour. Weta Workshop Head of Tourism Jake Downing says it is a great start that will only get better as Australian tourism to the city increases.
“Australia is Weta Workshop’s largest international visitor market and we have some great new additions to the Wellington experience for them to enjoy such as insights to some very successful recent movies we’ve worked on. We are ready to provide an utterly authentic movie-effects experience and genuine Kiwi welcome to friends from across the pond.”
Wellington hotels and tourism businesses felt an immediate impact when the New Zealand Government announced the trans-Tasman bubble would open on 19 April.
“We’re seeing an increase in bookings at Sofitel Wellington as people reconnect with friends and family and plan holidays to explore our great city as part of their New Zealand holiday”, says AGM CP Hotels Wellington General Manager Raymond Faulkner. “Short term corporate stays have also booked into May and June, which is great for both the hotel and surrounding businesses. The trans-Tasman bubble is a very welcome milestone for the tourism industry and will help reinvigorate Wellington and the rest of the country.
“The move takes us closer towards the revival and resurgence of the travel industry and we’re excited about welcoming our Australian guests and returning Kiwis. There’s so much our city has to explore and entertain – from restaurants and theatre to exhibitions and sporting events,” Mr Faulkner says.
Wellington has just welcomed its first quarantine-free visitors from across the Tasman in more than a year.
— RNZ (@radionz) April 19, 2021
News from Air New Zealand – April 16
Air New Zealand is revving up for a mammoth day on Monday with more than 5,000 passengers expected to travel to reunite with whānau and friends.
Air New Zealand Chief Executive Greg Foran says the airline’s trans-Tasman routes are firing on all cylinders. “The accumulation of the opening of the trans-Tasman bubble and the start of the Kiwi school holidays has created a real sense of momentum and energy about the whole airline.
“Monday will go down in history as one of the most monumental days for Air New Zealand and a real turning point for the airline. It’s Day 1 of our revival. We estimate that three-quarters of our passengers crossing the Ditch will be family and friends reuniting with loved ones. We’re humbled to be part of these reunions and reconnecting people who have missed out on so much over the last year.”
Monumental Monday by the numbers:
5,200 passengers booked, of which 3,100 are travelling to New Zealand
30 flights operating across the Tasman (Brisbane, Melbourne, Gold Coast, Perth, Sydney, flying into Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch)
“This will build to more than 300 flights a week as we reach the peak New Zealand and Australia school holidays in July.
“For the first time in a year, we’re rolling out the red carpet for our Aussie cousins. Every Air New Zealander is focused on making the post-COVID flying safe for customers, while still showing them the unique Kiwi experience we’re known for.”
Air New Zealand is advising passengers to prepare for the new normal of flying – extra time for check-in, mandatory masks, and completing health paperwork. Customers should plan to check-in at least 3 hours prior to departure on trans-Tasman flights. Masks are required on board and in the airports too. The Australian Travel Declaration must be completed at least 72 hours before departure, along with any state declarations.
Air New Zealand has prepared the following important information to ensure passengers are eligible to travel: http://airnz.click/QFT2AU
News from Wellington Airport – April 16
we are ready to welcome our trans-Tasman flights back on the morning of 19 April. This is a very exciting time for us after such a long covid break and we look forward to welcoming travellers in both directions.
As it has been a year since we have had international flights operating, we expect that you will notice the difference. We just wanted to give you a heads-up that things will be getting back to normal from next week.
While the airport receives very few noise complaints generally, we do find that local residents become more aware of aircraft noise when something changes or is out of the usual. We expect that as aircraft patterns settle back to a normal pattern, it will soon feel normal again for you too.
The airlines are currently developing their schedules; however, flights are expected to operate at similar times to the pre-covid schedules, with early morning departures to Australia starting from 6am, with the last arrivals landing before the 1am curfew.
We’re planning an extra special welcome message on the runway embankment for our returning Kiwis and Aussie visitors on Monday. Can you guess what it is? 🧐 pic.twitter.com/24JER24j5X
— Wellington Airport (@WLGAirport) April 16, 2021
News from Wellington Airport – April 6
At this stage it is confirmed there will be direct return flights from Wellington to Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. Flights will operate on similar times to those customers were used to pre-Covid, with early morning and afternoon departures; and afternoon and midnight arrivals,” says Airport CEO Steve Sanderson.
“We believe there is significant pent-up demand for travel to and from Australia. Families and friends who have been separated are eager to see each other; and there is increasing demand from Australia for safe international holiday options.
“New Zealand is able to offer a premium, safe tourism experience unlike anything else in the world currently. Wellington Airport will be working with Tourism New Zealand, WellingtonNZ, airlines and local tourism operators to promote Wellington as a destination, with activity stepping up over the next few months as the trans-Tasman bubble is embedded.
“Australian travellers through Wellington Airport can largely expect business as usual, with some additional precautions. We do not have any MIQ or longer-haul flights coming through the terminal, so passengers can have peace of mind that Wellington Airport is an entirely “green” zone.
“As an extra layer of precaution we have worked to implement all Ministry of Health guidance to ensure everything possible is done to maintain a safe and hygienic environment for travellers. This includes increased cleaning, regular Covid-19 testing of all border-facing staff, thermal camera temperature checking of all arrivals, and signage to remind visitors of Covid requirements including use of the Covid tracer app.”