By CASS MARRETT
It could be another eight weeks before Queenstown sees its first trans-Tasman flight.
And it will likely be three months before Air New Zealand starts flying between Australia and Queenstown.
Last week, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced New Zealand borders will open to Australian visitors, who won’t have to quarantine, from, effectively, April 13, and to international visitors from visa-waiver countries from May 2.
However, Queenstown Airport chief executive Glen Sowry says airlines are still working through the process to update their schedules, but he’s hopeful direct flights from Australia will resume by late May.
In a media release, Australia’s national carrier, Qantas, says it and Jetstar will boost flights during May and June to resume direct services to Queenstown from across the ditch.
But an Air New Zealand spokeswoman tells Mountain Scene it’s looking to resume flights from Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne in mid-June, ‘‘in time for ski season’’.
Neither airlines provided exact dates for when direct services will start, however connecting domestic flights are available — at a price.
Qantas is selling a one-way flight, from Sydney to Queenstown via Auckland on April 17, for example, for AUD$1160.
That drops to AUD$844 on April 18, flying from Sydney to Auckland, via Melbourne, with Qantas, and then on to Queenstown with Jetstar.
It drops further, to AUD$539 on April 20 for the same route, with the international and NZ domestic legs operated by Jetstar.