AUCKLAND INTERNATION

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Auckland International Airport : New Zealand's Auckland Airport to Reconfigure Terminal for 'Bubble' Travel

08/03/2020 | 12:44am

By Stephen Wright

WELLINGTON, New Zealand--Auckland International Airport Ltd., operator of New Zealand's main passenger gateway, said it will split its international terminal into two zones to help enable future travel-bubble arrangements with other countries.

The company on Monday said planning for the work is in its final stages and was in anticipation of quarantine-free travel between New Zealand and the Cook Islands, neither of which has any known transmission of the coronavirus recently. The New Zealand and Cook Islands governments haven't announced a date for quarantine-free travel to start.

One part of the terminal would handle passengers traveling to or from countries that New Zealand has formed a "safe travel bubble" with, the airport operator said. A completely separated second zone would be used by people who are required to quarantine for 14 days on arrival and by transit passengers.

New Zealand has had no locally spread cases of coronavirus for more than three months but plans for quarantine free-travel with Australia have been shelved after an increase in cases in the state of Victoria.

The Cook Islands, located between French Polynesia and Tonga in the South Pacific, is a popular tourist destination for New Zealanders and New Zealand is a key gateway to the South Pacific as a whole.

Auckland Airport's chief executive Andrew Little said the airport is putting in place the infrastructure that will be needed to reestablish travel when the government makes that decision.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Monday that "absolute caution" will be needed for any travel arrangements with Pacific island nations. New Zealand doesn't want to risk introducing the virus into the region, she said.

Write to Stephen Wright at stephen.wright@wsj.com

 

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