Nearly two years after the border closed, New Zealand is expecting an influx of travelers following the lifting of travel restrictions for vaccinated New Zealand citizens travelling from Australia on February 27 and from the rest of the world on March 4.
Approximately 900 New Zealanders arrived back at Auckland Airport on March 5 and with around 120 overseas destinations now open to eligible Kiwi travelers, the country predicts a surge in international travel departing New Zealand.
Having communicated with its international airline customers, Auckland Airport found a very positive response to the removal of self-isolation and the likelihood that eligible international travelers will be able to come to New Zealand sooner than expected.
Pre-pandemic New Zealanders made around 3,000,000 trips overseas every year, with around a quarter of New Zealanders born overseas and an estimated 1,000,000 New Zealanders living offshore. On March 5, Emirates and Singapore Airlines operated the first long-haul flights carrying passengers who didn’t need to quarantine or isolate, alongside Fiji Airways and Air New Zealand connecting from Fiji, with 34 long-haul flights expected over the following week.
Mary-Liz Tuck, general manager of corporate services at Auckland Airport, said, “They’re in a key planning phase right now for their future schedules, particularly those airlines that only connect to New Zealand during our peak summer travel season. We’ve already seen Air New Zealand release its plans for restarting long-haul passenger services, plus LATAM Airlines has announced it will re-establish its connection between Santiago, Chile and Auckland Airport at the end of March. We expect the removal of self-isolation to be a big unlock for the international market eyeing up the trip of a lifetime and await the government decisions on the timing of steps four and five of New Zealand’s reconnection plan.”
“Auckland Airport looks forward to the next steps in New Zealand’s reconnection with the world, including travelers on working holidays, international students and by July, all travelers from Australia and visa waiver countries. Auckland Airport is a place of connection, and for the past couple of years that heartbeat has slowed. Every one of us loves aviation, loves travel, and loves the connections the airport helps create. We are really excited to be part of the next steps in our country’s reconnection with the world.”