Emirates will increase its flights to Auckland from Dubai from the end of March to six flights a week while Air New Zealand is taking bookings for a dozen more Australian flights a week starting mid-April.
A year since the flight collapsed, increasing speculation about a two-way transport bubble has seen Air New Zealand load more flights onto its booking website for Australian cities flown on skeletal schedules and returning to places like the Sunshine Coast, Cairns and Adelaide – routes the flight was stopped last year.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said today there are still health and regulatory requirements that must be met before New Zealand is ready to suppress a quarantine-free bubble. In a delay plaguing the travel and tourism industry, he will now make further announcements after Easter, on April 6.
Non-stop flights from Queenstown to Australia also appear on Air New Zealand’s website starting April 19. These start dates coincide with all school holidays in New Zealand and will mark a week of Australian school holidays and include Anzac Day, an important date alongside days on both sides of Tasman.
Virgin Australia, which left Tasman before collapsing last April, said it was now selling seats across Tasman starting June 19.
Emirates already flies four times a week from Dubai and as of March 28, 2021, flights from Auckland to Dubai will depart every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
From 28 March, flights from Auckland to Dubai will depart every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Dubai to Auckland flights will depart every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday.
All flights to Auckland will be operated by Boeing 777-300 which has a sizeable cargo capacity. The airline will benefit from an extension of the Government’s air transport support scheme.
Emirates, which suspended its entire fleet in April last year, has restarted operations to more than 90 destinations in its global network.
Air New Zealand plans to restore Australia’s network of nine cities and add another – Hobart – when a quarantine-free two-way travel bubble is launched.
Although it said it was a date to be set by the Government, its website showed various destinations and the number of services to Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne jumped from 19 April.
Hobart and Norfolk Island did not appear.
Leanne Geraghty, chief customer and sales officer, said the airline expected strong demand for seats on both sides of Tasman.
In April, the lowest one-way fare from Auckland to Sydney is $ 447 and most start at $ 527.
Geraghty said Air New Zealand will offer a price range on its restored network.
Last February, when air travel collapsed, airlines tried to stimulate demand by offering transtasman fares as low as $ 69.
The Qantas website does not show an increase in the number of flights and a spokesman said it would wait for the New Zealand Government announcement before outlining its plans.