Air New Zealand resumes quarantine-free flights to Sydney and Melbourne

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - MARCH 16: An Air New Zealand plane is seen at Auckland Airport on March 16, 2020 in Auckland, New Zealand. Air New Zealand has announced it will reduce its international capacity by 85 per cent as a result of the current coronavirus pandemic and its impact on travel demand. The airline is suspending flights between Auckland and Chicago, San Francisco, Houston, Buenos Aires, Vancouver, Tokyo Narita, Honolulu, Denpasar and Taipei from 30 March to 30 June. It is also suspending its London–Los Angeles service from 20 March through to 30 June. Air New Zealand's Tasman and Pacific Island network capacity will significantly reduce between April and June, while domestic route capacity will be reduced by around 30 percent in April and May. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)
Photo credit: Getty

Air New Zealand has resumed quarantine-free flights to Sydney and Melbourne on Friday following a border update from the Australian government.

However, quarantine-free flights to Brisbane remain suspended until March 20 at the request of the Queensland government.

The airline is operating three Auckland-Sydney services and two Auckland-Melbourne services on Friday in order to clear the backlog created by New Zealand's recent alert level changes, Air New Zealand Chief Customer and Sales Officer Leanne Geraghty said.

The airline will also be resuming flights between Sydney and Norfolk Island from March 19.

"Because aircrew are currently unable to operate domestic services in Queensland without completing a 14-day quarantine period, this will impact our ability to operate between Brisbane and Norfolk Island while the restrictions on Queensland travel remain in place," Geraghty said in a statement on Friday.

"We are pleased to be able to connect our customers with these Australian destinations once again and look forward to resuming quarantine-free flights to Brisbane in due course."

Customers travelling to Melbourne are required by the Victoria state government to apply for a Victoria Travel Permit prior to check-in.

Those travelling from Auckland to Melbourne or Sydney are also required to carry out a COVID-19 test within 72 hours after their arrival - and remain in self-isolation until a negative test result is received.

Air New Zealand has contacted customers whose booking is affected by these changes. Customers who booked via a travel agent, both in-store and online, will be contacted by their booking agent.

Customers planning to travel interstate beyond New South Wales or Victoria will need to ensure they have checked state and territory travel restrictions and have the appropriate exemptions or approvals to travel, as these continue to change.

Following the COVID-19 outbreak in Auckland last month, enforced quarantines were put in place for New Zealanders travelling to New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland.

The Australian government also announced a hold on travel for anyone who had been in Auckland in the past 14 days, with Queensland removing New Zealand as a "safe travel country" after 11 cases were detected in the community.

Air New Zealand responded by suspending its quarantine-free services to Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.