Qantas and Jetstar will soon restart flying to all of their pre-pandemic New Zealand destinations while also launching two new routes direct from Auckland to Cairns and the Gold Coast when the two-way Trans-Tasman bubble opens later this month.
The national carrier said this would provide travellers with more options for holidays in Queensland and New Zealand.
It will also boost the number of trans-Tasman flights, which had sunk to less than 3 percent capacity at the height of the pandemic.
The two-way travel bubble will allow the airline to resume operations at 83 percent capacity.
The announcement comes after Australia and New Zealand announced that a two-way safe travel zone, or a travel bubble, will start from April 19 between the two countries.
Qantas Domestic and International CEO Andrew David said restarting the flights would help reconnect families and friends and rebuild the airline group’s international network.
“Hopefully, stories of missed weddings and birthdays on either side of the ditch will now be a thing of the past,” David said.
“We know Australians are keen to head overseas again, so we expect strong demand for flights to New Zealand, and there are many Kiwis who can’t wait for a winter escape to warmer weather in Australia.”
Qantas and Jetstar will operate up to 122 return flights per week across the Tasman Sea on 15 routes, offering more than 52,000 seats each week.
Travellers who book flights before July 31 will be allowed unlimited flight date changes if their travel is before Feb. 28, 2022.
Frequent flyers will be able to use points on every seat on every Qantas and Jetstar flight for the first three days of sales as a “Classic Flight redemption.”
Prior to the pandemic, Qantas usually operated direct flights to Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, and Queenstown in New Zealand and ski season flights direct flights from Brisbane and Melbourne to Queenstown.
The new daily service from the Gold Coast to Auckland will mark Qantas’ first-ever international flights from Gold Coast Airport.
The new Cairns-Auckland route will launch in early June, operating three days per week. Flights will initially operate for eight weeks until late July, and Qantas will look to add more flights beyond this period if there is demand, the airline said.
Jetstar, the Qantas Group’s budget airline, will initially operate flights to Auckland from Melbourne, Gold Coast, and Sydney. It will resume all of its pre-pandemic routes from mid-year.