Airline chief backs common NZ/Australia border

Qantas offshoot Jetstar airline chief Bruce Buchanan is supporting calls for New Zealand and Australia to adopt a common border and drop travel restrictions between the two countries.

Buchanan acknowledged that quarantine and border security issues would have to be resolved.

In New Zealand, forestry and horticultural groups have previously expressed concern that international flights to secondary airports such as Rotorua, Hamilton, or Tauranga would increase biosecurity risks.

But Buchanan said return airfares between both countries could fall by $60 under a common border arrangement.

The arrangement would also stimulate jobs growth on both sides of the Tasman, he told Sydney's Daily Telegraph.

"If you are able take out $60 worth of fixed costs of a return Trans Tasman airfare, you could bring a Jetstar economy fare down from $200-$210, to say $140-150 one-way," he said.

"Now is the time for the transport and tourism sectors on both sides of the Tasman to have our elected leaders act upon the common political thread now between them," Buchanan said.

He said a common border arrangement was supported by Jetstar parent Qantas because it would create a hassle-free trans-Tasman travel experience.

"If you want economic stimulus packages by governments and you want to drive tourism in the current environment, I can't think of anything that's going to drive a greater increase in passenger movements," said Buchanan.

The move could also bring the two countries closer together in terms of trade and economic integration.

- NZPA

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