Trans-Tasman bubble ‘turning point’ for airline sector

‘It’s Day 1 of our revival,’ says Air NZ CEO Greg Foran

Trans-Tasman bubble ‘turning point’ for airline sector

The first day of the Trans-Tasman travel bubble will see more than 5,000 passengers taking to the skies in what is forecast to be a “turning point” for the airline industry. Most travellers are expected to “reunite with whānau and friends” after more than a year of COVID-19 restrictions on business and social activity.

“The accumulation of the opening of the trans-Tasman bubble and the start of the Kiwi school holidays has created a real sense of momentum and energy,” said Air New Zealand CEO Greg Foran, who shared how the carrier is “firing on all cylinders”.

Read more: New Zealand confirms date of Trans-Tasman travel bubble

“Monday will go down in history as one of the most monumental days for Air New Zealand and a real turning point for the airline. It’s Day 1 of our revival,” Foran said. “We estimate that three-quarters of our passengers crossing the Ditch will be family and friends reuniting with loved ones.”

Air NZ earlier called back furloughed employees in preparation for the travel bubble. Crew members were given a fresh start. “We’ve had incredible feedback from businesses all over the country about our cabin crew who have been volunteering and working in other industries while they have been on furlough. They will now undergo comprehensive refresher training before taking to the skies again,” said Leeanne Langridge, general manager for Air NZ.

Read more: Air NZ brings back staff ahead of Trans-Tasman travel bubble

The opening of the corridor offers hope for both New Zealand and Australia as they revive regional travel and as airline companies once again deploy staff who were grounded by the restrictions.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern expressed hope for the two countries. “The Trans-Tasman bubble represents the start of a new chapter in our COVID response and recovery and one that people have worked so hard for and that makes New Zealand and Australia relatively unique,” she said.

Airline employees will also play a crucial role in guiding passengers through health and safety protocols, including spending extra time checking in and accomplishing health declaration forms.

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