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Aviation sector prepares for bubble flights

The New Zealand aviation sector is well advanced in its planning for non-quarantine flights from countries free of community transmission of COVID-19.

Kevin Ward, co-chair of the New Zealand Aviation Coalition, says New Zealand’s international airports have detailed plans to safely separate 'Pacific bubble' travellers from those arriving from countries with community transmission cases.

Auckland International Airport, which has been handling the bulk of international travel in recent months, has released a detailed plan to use different parts of its international terminal for the separation of passengers.

Christchurch, Wellington and Queenstown airports have effective systems in place now and are awaiting approval from government border agencies and health services.

Justin Tighe-Umbers, the other NZAC co-chair, says separating travellers based on their country of origin is important measure in the fight against COVID and airlines are onboard.

“People want to travel overseas and getting flights going as soon as it is safe to do so is key. 

"Auckland Airport creating two terminals is an innovative move that will allow airlines to grow capacity as we open up safe zones with other countries.”

Airports and airlines throughout the world have been deploying systems to enable international travel. The International Air Transport Association is not expecting air travel to return to pre-COVID levels until 2024, but late last month said passenger numbers may be back up to around 62 oer cent in 2021.

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