Tasmania’s coronavirus recovery is set for a shot in the arm with the resumption of international flights with New Zealand for the first time in more than two decades.
Plans for 130 direct flights next year were unveiled by Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Saturday.
The first flight is likely to touch down in late January, with three flights a week expected for most of the year bar winter.
“It’s a fantastic opportunity for Tasmania, a fantastic opportunity for Hobart,” Premier Peter Gutwein said.
“This is a unique opportunity to travel between two extraordinary island destinations and a terrific boost for local jobs.”
Discussions were well advanced with a carrier, Mr Gutwein added, with the state government to help underwrite the Hobart-Auckland link.
Almost $50 million in federal funds will go towards setting up border force, federal police and biosecurity officers at Hobart Airport.
The state government is contributing $10 million for upgrades to airport infrastructure as part of a $17.5 million investment with the facility’s owners.
“The arrangement we have is for New Zealanders to be able to come and spend their money here,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.
“Kiwis who come to Tasmania will certainly get the good end of the stick when it comes to the wonderful experience they’ll have here.”
After reopening to NSW on Friday, Tasmania’s borders are now open to all jurisdictions bar Victoria.
The island state had been closed off to the rest of Australia since late March.