Australia reopens borders

A limited trans-Tasman travel bubble has opened, with the first flight from New Zealand touching down in Australia earlier.

Passengers on the first commercial flight between the two countries in seven months arrived at Sydney International Airport at noon local time.

Both Australia and New Zealand closed their borders in March as the Covid-19 pandemic began to spread, with a limited reopening now underway.

Those arriving in New South Wales and the Northern Territory in Australia will not have to quarantine – with zero cases currently reported in New Zealand.

However, passengers on the return trip will be asked to self-isolate on arrival in New Zealand.

Sydney Airport chief executive officer, Geoff Culbert, said this was a first step in the “phased approach”.

“We have not welcomed international travelers to Sydney in months that have not had to come through customs and go straight on to buses to a hotel to quarantine,” he added.

There will be 16 flights between the two countries each week, with Jetstar, Qantas, Air New Zealand, and Qatar Airways all offering trips.

A Jetstar flight and a Qantas flight will arrive later today as the bubble develops.