Qantas CEO Alan Joyce has renewed the push for 'seamless' travel between Australia and New Zealand which would make crossing the Tasman no different to crossing into another Aussie state.
No passports, no immigration or customs checks – just zip across the ditch for a day or two of business or a long weekend getaway.
“We think that Australia-New Zealand should have as seamless access as possible" Joyce told a meeting of the Trans-Tasman Business Circle in Wellington yesterday.
"There’s no reason why the travel between the two countries should be not like travel within New Zealand. It should be the same."
Joyce affirmed that "it would make it easier for business travellers and it would make tourism a lot easier," while admitting there's also an upside for Qantas: New Zealand flights could depart from domestic rather than international airports.
"From an infrastructure perspective what it does is improve our efficiency dramatically because we can use domestic terminals."
Yes, this could mean an end to enjoying the Qantas first class lounge at Sydney or Melbourne before your pond-hop. It could also mean Qantas might not need to update its tired Auckland international lounge, if flights back to Australia were to instead depart from Auckland's domestic terminal.
Both the Australian and New Zealand governments have done plenty of talking about removing the trans-Tasman borders, although their most recent move was to propose trialing a cloud passport which would replace physical passports with digital passenger information and biometric data stored on government servers for access by border agencies.
And in 2009, after two years of discussions, plans were set up – but never enacted – to trial a clearance system similar to that used in Europe across European Union countries
Joyce's comments come a week after Qantas, Virgin Australia and Air New Zealand took the lead in forming airline industry group Airlines for Australia and New Zealand (A4ANZ) to lobby the governments and private airport operators for lower taxes and fees – which A4ANZ claims to make up 40 per cent of an average airfare – along with greater investment in infrastructure and other airline-friendly efficiencies.
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