While the overall situation in Australia may be gradually improving, trans-Tasman flights will not go ahead until March next year. At least according to Air New Zealand CEO, Greg Foran.
“I certainly do not believe we will see anything across the Tasman this calendar year,” says Foran.
“If it comes back quicker, we’re going to pop some champagne… We’re dealing with the biggest crisis that’s ever hit [the] industry.”
New Zealand was famously ahead of the curve by pre-emptively flattening it – seemingly for good. That was until the country’s situation was complicated by the sudden occurrences of new cases. Throw Victoria’s headline-making resurgence into the mix and the reasoning behind the trans-Tasman travel bubble/possibility of trans-Tasman flights’ delay becomes painfully apparent.
The proposal for quarantine-free air travel between Australia and New Zealand roughly lines up with Qantas CEO Alan Joyce’s announcement regarding international flights from the crimson carrier back in June.
“There’ll be nothing this next financial year,” says Joyce, referring to after June 30th of 2021.
“July next year we may start seeing some international services and that will only get us to 50%. The following year, only two-thirds of the pre-COVID international schedule.”
As per the estimation of many from the International Air Transport Association to Greg Foran himself, international travel will not return to “business as usual” in terms of operations nor recover to pre-COVID levels of demand until 2023.
Hang in there.