Bubble on the horizon? Emirates, Air New Zealand unveil new flight plans

Author
Grant Bradley, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Mon, 22 Mar 2021, 2:29PM
(Photo / Supplied)
(Photo / Supplied)

Bubble on the horizon? Emirates, Air New Zealand unveil new flight plans

Author
Grant Bradley, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Mon, 22 Mar 2021, 2:29PM

Emirates will boost its non-stop flights to Auckland from Dubai from the end of March to six a week while Air New Zealand is taking bookings for dozens more Australian flights a week from mid-April.

A year since aviation collapsed, talk of a two-way trans-Tasman bubble has led Air New Zealand to load more flights into its booking website for Australian cities it has flown to with a skeleton schedule and return to places such as the Sunshine Coast, Cairns and Adelaide - routes it stopped flying last year.

Non-stop flights out of Queenstown to Australia are also showing up Air New Zealand's site from April 19.

Virgin Australia, which pulled out of the Tasman before it collapsed last April, says it is now selling seats across the Tasman from June 19.

Emirates has been flying four times a week from Dubai and in the new schedule from March 28, flights from Auckland to Dubai will depart every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday.

All flights to Auckland will be operated by the Boeing 777 which has substantial cargo capacity. The airline stands to benefit from an extension of the Government's air freight support scheme.

Emirates, which grounded its entire fleet in April last year, has restarted operations to more than 90 destinations within its global network.

Air New Zealand plans to restore its Australian network of nine cities and add another - Hobart - when a two-way quarantine-free travel bubble is launched.

While it has said it is for a date to be set by the Government - which could come this afternoon - its website shows the range of destinations and number of services into Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne jump from April 19.

Hobart and Norfolk Island are not showing up though.

Leanne Geraghty, chief customer and sales officer, said the airline was expecting strong demand for seats on both sides of the Tasman.

In April the lowest one-way fare from Auckland to Sydney is $447 and most start at $527.

Geraghty said Air New Zealand would offer a range of prices on its restored network.

Last February, as air travel was collapsing, the airline tried to stimulate demand by offering transtasman fares for as low as $69.

Qantas' website is not showing any increase in the number of flights and a spokesman said it would wait for a New Zealand Government announcement before it outlined its plans.