Australians hoping for a summer holiday in New Zealand to see family and friends will need to think again.
Quarantine-free travel between the two neighbors is unlikely to resume for at least another six months, according to the head of New Zealand’s biggest airline.
“I certainly do not believe we will see anything across the Tasman this calendar year,” Air New Zealand Chief Executive Officer Greg Foran told the Sydney Morning Herald. “It’s hard to believe it would be before March next year, and could well be longer.”
“If it comes back quicker, we’re going to pop some champagne.”
Plans for a safe-travel corridor to stimulate tourism and help both economies recover from the pandemic were put on hold after renewed outbreaks of the virus in both countries. In normal times, international tourism is New Zealand’s major export, and the many businesses connected with the industry are hurting.
Air New Zealand reported its first full-year loss in 18 years in August and said it’s unlikely to return to profit soon as the virus cripples international travel.