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Why Virgin has ceded the Tasman sky to QF and Air NZ

Air New Zealand has been readying for the opening of the trans-Tasman corridor for awhile (bringing back grounded staff and preparing craft and lounges) and Qantas and Jetstar will not only be travelling to all their pre-COVID New Zealand destinations, Qantas will also be adding services from the Gold Coast and Cairns to Auckland.


But what of Virgin Australia?


In a statement released immediately after New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern declared the travel corridor open, the airline declared it wouldn’t be selling tickets between Australia and its Tasman neighbour until 31 October.


A spokesperson from the airline said that while Virgin will commit to trans-Tasman flying “when the market fully recovers”, evolving border requirements “add complexity” to its business. 


The airline has thus suspended the sale of most New Zealand services until 31 October and will continue plans to grow its domestic Australia operations instead. 


“A limited schedule for flights to and from Queenstown will remain available for booking from 18 September 2021,” the spokesperson said. 



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Published: 7 April 2021

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