New Zealand could open its international borders to Australia by mid-April as the two countries contemplate introducing a Trans-Tasman bubble.
It is believed a paper is currently being discussion in a NZ Cabinet committee around the final form of the bubble, with a decision pending.
A historic Trans-Tasman bubble would see quarantine-free travel within New Zealand and Australia, while each country reserved the right to immediately suspend travel if the safety of the wider community is deemed under threat.
Airports would also be divided into separate green zones and red zones.
Flights from New Zealand to Australia could be reality by mid-April as the two countries consider a Trans-Tasman bubble
Green zones would indicate free and open travel, while red zones would be for travellers coming from other parts of the world to transit or hotel quarantine, according to 9News.
New Zealand is already giving the green light to passengers from the Cook Islands and Niue to enter the country quarantine-free.
NZ Covid Recovery Minister Chris Hipkins told Parliament on Wednesday that Auckland airport would require 10 days to be ready for the proposed bubble, while a number of airlines confirmed they would need three weeks to be ready to fly.
Other airports across the ditch keen to be a part of the bubble arrangement include Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown.
The development comes as Australian Minister for Trade and Tourism Dan Tehan flagged a three-way travel arrangement with Singapore and New Zealand by the middle of 2021 earlier this week.
Fiji have also expressed their interest.
The only current Australian states allowing quarantine-free travel from New Zealand are Victoria and NSW.
Earlier this month, Scott Morrison said New Zealand was free to open its borders whenever they deemed appropriate
‘If the New Zealand government doesn’t wish Australians to visit New Zealand and spend money in Queenstown or Wellington or other parts of the country, that’s a matter for them,’ the prime minister said.
‘But if Australians can’t go to Queenstown, I’m hoping they’ll go to Cairns.’
After more than 12 months of limited travel internationally, the scenario could change by as early as next month
Christchurch Airport is among the NZ airports considering their involvement in a Trans Tasman bubble with Australia from next month