Wellington Airport understands Government’s decision to suspend trans-Tasman bubble

23 Jul 2021

Photo credit: Yuvraj Kaintel @xwb.aviation

After a slow start for the trans-Tasman bubble with several pauses, Wellington Airport’s Chief Executive, Steve Sanderson is not surprised at the Government’s decision to suspend trans-Tasman quarantine free travel for eight weeks.

“While we all warmly welcomed the opening of the trans-Tasman bubble in April, we understand the Government wants to give Australia time to bring the out-break under control and for both countries to further roll out their vaccine programs”.

“To date, the uptake in trans-Tasman travel has been cautious, and the frequent closures highlight how fragile the current situation is at a time when vaccination rates are relatively low in both countries. We hope this pause will allow vaccination levels to increase significantly over the next two months in both countries to allow for more travel certainty when the bubble reopens”.

Since April, 47,000 passengers have travelled to or from Australia, equivalent to 24% of Wellington Airport’s pre-Covid levels. Comparatively, the domestic market is booming. Overall, domestic travel averaged 87% of pre-Covid levels from April to June, and during the July school holidays Wellington Airport experienced its busiest day in 18 months, with around 20,500 domestic seats operated on Friday 9 July.

Regional demand in particular is recovering strongly with capacity on the busiest day 14% higher than the same busiest day in the July 2019 school holidays.

“The Cook Islands bubble has shown what can be achieved without community cases, and we look forward to reopening travel to both the trans-Tasman and other Pacific Islands when the time is right.”