Preparing for the travel bubble
Biosecurity New Zealand are gearing up for a safe travel zone between New Zealand and countries that have COVID-19 under control. There’s been no decision yet on when quarantine restrictions will end for any country. However, there is likely to be very short notice to get ready once the call comes. Auckland Airport will continue to receive most of the “red flights”, which is what they are calling flights with passengers who need to go into managed isolation. The airport company has already announced plans to establish a separate processing area (International Terminal Zone B) for flights from COVID-19 countries. Auckland Airport has reconfigured a former gate lounge to become the processing area. The design minimises interaction between passengers and border officials. Trials suggest passenger traffic will flow smoothly through border clearance to buses going to isolation facilities. Biosecurity New Zealand will have two x-ray machines, a lab and search benches in the new area. Renamed as International Terminal A, the existing arrivals area will act as a safe zone for arriving and departing passengers under the travel bubble. Passengers arriving into this area won’t need to quarantine, so clearance operations will essentially be business as usual. There will also be new, state-of-the-art hand baggage scanner (the 920CT) based at Terminal A. We can expect to see a lot of short trips from the likes of Australia and Pacific countries under the safe travel arrangements. Many travellers will only carry hand luggage – ideal for the 920CT. Use of this new scanner will allow speedy processing for travellers who aren’t carrying any risk items.