South Island travel agent charters non-quarantine flight to Brisbane

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The Boeing 737 would be the largest aircraft to take advantage of Australia’s one-way bubble with the South Island. Photo / Getty Images

A single Boeing 737 is looking to take advantage of Australia’s offer of one-way, no-quarantine travel from the South Island in time for Christmas.

A South Island travel agency offers seats on a single charter flight to Queensland via the Australian travel lane without quarantine. With 174 seats, it will be the largest charter jet to use the Green Zone since it opened last month.

“We have made a quantified commitment for December 3,” said Rosann Connolly George, director of Vincent George Travel in Dunedin.

Flying from Christchurch to Brisbane, Connolly George said they expected the flight to be most interested in stranded Queenslanders and potentially other Australians looking to return home for the summer.

“Although New Zealand passport holders are also welcome,” she said.

The conditions of transport are proof of a complete vaccination, a negative result in the PCR test before departure and to be on the South Island 14 days before departure.

This makes the schedule even tighter for North Island passengers, who are expected to be on the South Island this Friday to travel.

Although the no-quarantine arrangement has been in place since October, the route has not been viable for commercial carriers.

Air New Zealand said the South Island’s current travel arrangement posed “a number of operational challenges for our airline” and would not offer one-way flights.

“As our main crew group is based in Auckland, this is unfortunately not sustainable,” said airline chief customer officer Leanne Geraghty following the announcement of the bubble.

The cost of the one-way empty flight has dramatically increased the price.

Economy seats start at $ 1,180 one way.

This amount is high compared to pre-pandemic prices, but appears to be in line with what some Australian returnees paid to charter small planes.

Last month, Newsroom reported that some travelers were sharing $ 46,000 in fares on charter flights from Queenstown to Brisbane.

Vincent George Travel said he is exploring the possibility of travel to Washington state after 14 days under the new Good 2 Go border pass deal with Queensland.

In October, Qantas said its flights were preparing to restart from mid-December 2021, but would only resume flights when a two-way bubble opened.

The Australian airline has said it will only be the operator of the service and flights should be booked directly with the agencies.

“We’re not doing a lucrative business here, it’s a humanitarian business,” said Connolly George.

While this was the Dunedin agency’s first international charter, they worked with Travel Associates Adelaide.

The Australian Travel Group has assisted with the repatriation of 1,066 Australians on private charters from South America and beyond, since July 2020.

For the most recent government guidelines on non-quarantine travel to Australia, visit covid19.govt.nz


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