Adrian Littlewood, Auckland Airport chief executive, told local media he expected a tenfold increase in flights between the two nations during the first few weeks of the travel corridor, which launches at 23.59 on 18 April.
The Trans-Tasman corridor will allow citizens of both Australia and New Zealand to travel freely between the countries with no quarantine requirement. The borders of both have been largely shut to international visitors over the past year.
Mr Littlewood added: “I think there will be tens of thousands of passengers on day one, because we’re looking across the first few weeks and seeing flight numbers grow by ten times to about 400 flights between Auckland and Australia.”
Airlines and airports across New Zealand and Australia have been gearing up for the bubble launch.
Air New Zealand tweeted “three sleeps”, while Wellington Airport on the South Island tweeted an image of “an extra special welcome message” being sprayed on grass at the airport.
Meanwhile, Qantas has reaffirmed its intention to start international flights from Australia by October, despite the fact that officials have said the country’s borders are likely to remain shut this year.
In the airline’s annual report, Qantas stated: “Preparations for the reopening of international borders and the resumption of international flights in late October (beyond flights between Australia and New Zealand) are continuing, including reactivating aircraft and training employees.
“The Group maintains flexibility to bring forward, push back or stagger the resumption of our international flights to align with any updates to the Australian Government’s Covid-19 vaccine rollout timeline or approach to international travel.”