Australia-New Zealand travel bubble off to fast, emotional start

Australia-New Zealand travel bubble off to fast, emotional start

An Auckland Airport worker has tested positive to coronavirus just one day after Australians and New Zealanders resumed travel between the two countries without having to quarantine.

To mark the occasion, Wellington International Airport painted an enormous welcome sign near its main runway and Air New Zealand ordered 24,000 bottles of sparkling wine, offering a complimentary glass to adult passengers.

Qantas will join Jetstar and Air New Zealand in connecting the Gold Coast to Auckland from today.

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce described today as "an awesome day" with the airline bringing 630 employees back to work for the 16 flights departing Australia today.

On Monday, thousands crossed the Tasman Sea to enter Australia and New Zealand after the long-awaited end of mandatory quarantine.

There are currently 86 active cases in New Zealand with 17 previously reported cases now recovered. Australia accepts that, ' Ms Ardern said on Tuesday.

Before the pandemic, around 20% of traffic between the countries was comprised of worldwide tourists from places such as the United States and China, Joyce said.

A woman hugs her daughter and grand-daughter at Sydney International Airport
A woman hugs her daughter and grand-daughter at Sydney International Airport Credit Jenny Evans /Getty Images AsiaPac

Ponti said the initial travel rush from Australia to New Zealand was probably partly explained by there being around 600,000 New Zealanders living in Australia versus 60,000 Australians living in New Zealand, as well as Australians looking to head to New Zealand's ski fields for holidays.

At the Auckland airport, a choir was singing Dave Dobbyn's "Welcome Home" as people hugged and kissed their dear ones.

Under the deal with New Zealand, passengers from Australia take "green zone flights" for those who have been in Australia for the previous 14 days. - AP A family reunites upon their arrival from New Zealand at Sydney International Airport on April 19.

More than half a million New Zealand-born people live in Australia, just over 2% of Australia's population of near 26 million.

Australia's Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said the two-way travel bubble "shows we're on the pathway out of COVID and back to some sort of normality" which is "going to benefit both nations".

Victoria recorded zero new local cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, with four new cases in hotel quarantine.

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