Pilots back trans-Tasman bubble

The idea of a trans-Tasman tourism bubble received a major boost when pilots announced that they were on board with the plan.

Australian and International Pilots Association (AIPA) president Mark Sedgwick said pilots were backing an early opening of the trans-Tasman bubble to kickstart tourism, hospitality and aviation in Australia and New Zealand.

“Our priority is to get planes and pilots back in the air, which will enable people to start moving across the Tasman and around Australia when it is safe to do so,” Mr Sedgwick said.

“This is an essential first step in Australia’s economic recovery.”

Mr Sedgwick said AIPA, which comprises pilots working for the Qantas Group, had held discussions with the New Zealand Airline Pilots’ Association (NZALPA), with both organisations backing calls for the trans-Tasman bubble to be opened as soon as it is safe to do so.

“Australia and New Zealand have managed the COVID-19 pandemic extremely well with low rates of infection in both countries,” Mr Sedgwick said.

“Our economies are heavily dependent on tourism and we believe the trans-Tasman bubble represents an important opportunity to boost tourism in both countries.”

He said the associations would be writing to the trans-Tasman Safe Border Group to encourage the resumption of services at the earliest opportunity.

“AIPA is also appealing to states and territories, which have closed their borders, to reopen them to allow domestic aviation to resume,” Mr Sedgwick explained.

“We want all the states to commit to the time frame outlined by the NSW government, in line with the federal government’s three-stage plan for economic recovery.

“More than five million people have signed up for the COVIDSafe app, allowing health authorities to track and trace the spread of the virus, which will help support an increase in domestic travel,” Mr Sedgwick said.

“Pilots support NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian and tourism minister Stuart Ayres who have called for all states and territories to reopen borders by 1 July,” he said.

“Aviation and tourism must restart in order to get our economy out of hibernation and heading down the path of recovery.”

How would you feel about trans-Tasman travel being back on the agenda? Would you be willing to travel to New Zealand?

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