Trans- Tasman travel will resume on Saturday when the first flight from New Zealand touches down, the first flight to Cairns in over in 20 months from Auckland.
More than a hundred passengers are expected on the flight, with Qantas scheduled to operate weekly services until the end of July. Air New Zealand will also begin servicing the route from late June operating four services a week from Cairns.
Cairns Airport Chief Executive Richard Barker said the day would be one of great excitement, not just for those people waiting to see loved ones again after more than a year apart, but for the teams at the airport that have worked hard to make quarantine-free travel a reality.
“Managing safe travel has been a huge piece of work for the airport team and the cooperation between Australian Border Force, the Department of Agriculture and Queensland Health has been fantastic. Our airline partners, retailers and cleaning staff have all played a role in getting our terminal ready to welcome visitors tomorrow.”
“Our new red and green zones will come effect tomorrow as final preparations are put in place to ensure the terminal is safe and ready.”
“This is an important step in the return of international travel, and we’ll have 2,700 seats a week in and out of Cairns at the peak of the season in July, and that’s great news for the region”.
Tourism Tropical North Queensland Chief Executive Officer Mark Olsen said the Cairns and Great Barrier Reef region was looking to double the share of New Zealand travellers over the next 12 months.
“Research undertaken by TTNQ in the New Zealand market shows they are looking for diverse activities, to connect with local culture, and want a destination that is easy to get around with a good food offering and value for money,” he said.
“Cairns and Great Barrier Reef is the perfect holiday destination to fulfil these needs, but most of the Kiwis we spoke to did not know what our destination has to offer outside trips to the reef and rainforest.
“TTNQ has employed a New Zealand-based PR agency to help Kiwis plan the perfect holiday in a tropical paradise and has invited New Zealand media to experience the destination.”
“The recovery in passenger numbers is progressing well and as passengers gain confidence in the recovery, we’re seeing strong forward bookings on Cairns – Auckland routes.”
“We are really pleased to see Cairns now connected directly to Auckland and the support from our airline partners has really helped open up new travel possibilities for locals and our friends across the Tasman.”
Air New Zealand will begin operating new direct service to Cairns from June 29.