'Almost sold out': Air New Zealand plans hundreds of trans-Tasman flights as borders open

There's been huge demand for flights to New Zealand from Australia.
There's been huge demand for flights to New Zealand from Australia. Photo credit: Getty Images

Air New Zealand says it is "thrilled" with today's announcement from the Government about allowing more people to enter Aotearoa as border restrictions are eased amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kiwis will be able to return to New Zealand from Australia from February 27, and from the rest of the world March 14.

"Today's announcement is incredibly exciting news for New Zealanders overseas. Having the certainty they will be touching down on home soil and reuniting with friends and whānau in just over three weeks will come as a relief," said the airline's chief customer and sales officer Leanne Geraghty.

"We expect to have more than 300 flights available between New Zealand and Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and the Gold Coast for the month of March alone. Once we have a clearer view as to the level of demand, we will adjust the schedule accordingly, but we're confident there will be seats available for those who need them."

Air NZ said strong demand has seen its first flights on February 28 almost sold out already.

All customers travelling on Air NZ's international network are required to show proof of full vaccination.

The airline is also working through the required changes to its international schedule to align with the March date when New Zealanders from the rest of the world will be able to come home.

Air New Zealand's tips for travellers: 

You'll need to show your International Vaccine Certificate to board an Air NZ international flight. This is different to the My Vaccine Pass Kiwis use for domestic travel. 

You may need a negative pre-departure test to enter your destination. Make sure you check the country entry requirements. 

Travel declarations vary from country to country - check what you need and fill these out.  

It may have been a while since you last saw it, so locate your passport and check the expiry date. You'll need at least six months before expiry to travel. 

Allow plenty of time at the airport - more than you may have pre-pandemic. Air NZ recommends planning for around three hours to check in and verify your travel documents.