The head of Sydney Airport says he's expecting 200 Kiwis to arrive on the first flight into the country as two Australian states open their borders this weekend.
New Zealanders will be able to fly to New South Wales and the Northern Territory without having to go into quarantine from tomorrow under a one-way transtasman travel bubble recently announced by the Australian government.
But it's a one-way arrangement: Kiwis returning to New Zealand will still need to do their 14-day stint in managed isolation. Australian tourists are not able to travel to New Zealand.
Sydney Airport chief executive officer Geoff Culbert today told the AFR National Infrastructure Summit he's expecting an influx of New Zealanders at the end of the week.
"We're expecting 200 passengers on the first flight from New Zealand.
"We haven't welcomed international travellers to Sydney in months that haven't had to come through customs and go straight on to buses to hotel [quarantine]," he said.
Culbert acknowledged that while it was still a one-way deal, the air bridge was the first step in a "phased approach" to international travel during the pandemic, News.com.au reported.
This first phase, taking flight this weekend, would provide a vital "proof of concept" for future travel agreements.
Announcing the re-opening in early October, Australian Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said South Australia would probably be the next destination on offer for Kiwis.
The move would also free up an extra 325 spaces for Australians to return home.
"The opportunity is there and there are plenty of tourism operators in Western Australian wanting business," he said.
If Western Australia wants to avail themselves of the travel bubble they only have to say the word, he said.
"We want to open up Australia to the world. This is the first part of it," McCormack said.
Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison recently said New Zealanders were "very, very welcome" to spend money in New South Wales and South Australia.
However, he said he would not be able to announce Australians could travel to New Zealand, as that was New Zealand's problem to solve.
But Ardern has said it was still too unsafe to be opening New Zealand's borders to Australia.
"In our view, we are not ready to have quarantine-free travel with Australia. They have a very different strategy to us, and so they're making that decision ... but for now we, of course, have to keep our New Zealanders safe.
"I encourage New Zealanders to think about spending their dollars here locally."