For the first time in more than a year Victorians can reconnect with loved ones from across the Tasman as quarantine-free travel commences for Australians entering New Zealand.

 Kiwis have been able to visit Australia quarantine free since last October, but today means passengers will be quarantine free at both ends.

 Melbourne Airport will welcome 19 trans-Tasman flights today, which is equal to approximately 4,000 seats.

 Each week around 140 services will operate between Melbourne and New Zealand, and the number will rise to 180 weekly flights by the end of May – taking the airport back to around 70 per cent of its pre-COVID flight capacity.

 Melbourne Airport Chief of Aviation Lorie Argus said New Zealand was an important market to re-establish.

 “We’re absolutely thrilled to see international travel restart, bringing us one step closer to normality. Now people at both ends can dust off their passports to visit family and friends, and take that long-awaited holiday,” said Ms Argus. 

 “New Zealand is a significant market for Melbourne and Victoria. It is our most popular outbound international destination and our second busiest inbound market – so we’re confident both sides will be busy.

 “Hopefully the safe reopening between Australia and New Zealand can be used as a blueprint for other international markets throughout the year.

 “Australia is an island nation and international connectivity is critical for trade, jobs and social connectivity. Restarting international travel when it is safe to do so will be so important to Australians and the thousands of jobs that depend on tourism and aviation.”

 Melbourne Airport currently facilitates non-stop flights to four New Zealand destinations including Auckland, Christchurch, Wellington and Queenstown.