13 Apr 2021

Air NZ boss confident in trans-Tasman bubble despite latest Covid-19 cases

11:02 am on 13 April 2021

Air New Zealand's chief executive says he is not concerned about any threat to trans-Tasman travel from three recent Covid-19 cases in Auckland.

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Photo: James Coleman/ Unsplash

A cleaner and two security guards who work at the Grand Millennium MIQ facility have tested positive.

It's six days until the opening of the trans-Tasman bubble.

Greg Foran told First Up cases will be popping up for some time yet, and both New Zealand and Australia will need to learn how to deal with them.

"It doesn't mean that at some point that don't become more serious and we have to deal with either a pause or a suspension," Foran said.

He's confident the bubble will proceed as planned.

Last week the airline received a large number of bookings to the Tasman for April and May, he said.

Auckland, Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne are the strongest performing destinations but there's also been growth in Queenstown, he said.

"I'm looking forward to the Cook Islands coming on soon," Foran said, but added he doesn't have any more information on this than the public do.

"It starts to give a real a real vibe in the business that we've moved off this survival period that we've been in and we're now starting to revive the business."

In December, the airline decided to bring back just over 300 of the crew it had let go because of the pandemic and train them up in preparation for a trans-Tasman bubble.

"It doesn't happen in weeks, it's usually months. The big machine's been at it but we're excited to actually be rebuilding as opposed to winding down."

Foran said travellers to Australia will need to wear a masks but they will not need to social distance.

The crew on these flights will only be working on trans-Tasman bubble flights, he said.

More than 50 percent of Air New Zealand staff have been vaccinated.

There are currently fifteen 777 Air New Zealand planes stored in the desert in the United States.

"If and when we decide to bring them back we're going to need months and months to bring them back.

"You've then got to get all of your crew trained and even things like when a plane has been parked up in the desert, you've got to make sure things like the life rafts in the planes, you know all of the material on them suddenly hasn't expired and gone out of date, so it takes a while."

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