18th Jan 2022 (Unlike Air New Zealand and the Cook Strait ferries, Jetstar doesn’t require passengers to show a vaccine pass or test.)
While people leaving Auckland no longer have to present proof of vaccine or a negative Covid-19 test, airlines and ferries travelling between the North and South Islands have decided to keep the requirement in place – except for Jetstar.
Air New Zealand is requiring passengers aged 12 years, three months and older on all domestic flights to have a vaccine pass or negative test until at least March 31. Smaller airlines Sounds Air and Originair are also requiring vaccine passes or negative tests under the traffic light system.
Cook Strait ferry operator Bluebridge is continuing to require passengers over 12 years and three months to show a vaccine pass or negative test at check-in until March 31, while the Interislander also plans to keep the policy in place.
“KiwiRail is committed to the safety of its passengers and crew on the Interislander ferries and has no current plans to change its regime requiring proof of vaccination or a negative test for those travelling,” said Alastair Cumming, group general manager for zero harm.
Jetstar does not require domestic passengers to be vaccinated or take a Covid-19 test. The airline only introduced this for passengers departing from Auckland, in line with the Government’s rules, and enforced this by doing spot checks.
But now the Auckland border requirement has been removed, the only remaining restriction is that passengers must wear a face mask.
“We continue to follow the New Zealand Government’s official health advice, and work closely with the Ministry of Transport to develop approved processes relating to any travel restrictions,” a Jetstar spokesperson said.
Te Manatū Waka Ministry of Transport confirmed Jetstar’s approach was within the rules of the traffic light system.
“Under the Covid-19 Protection Framework, there are no restrictions on travel around New Zealand whether or not an individual is vaccinated or unvaccinated, and no matter what mode of transport someone uses,” said Brent Johnston, director of system and regulatory design.
“Airline operators and Cook Strait ferry operators have the discretion to decide if they want to use My Vaccine Pass or a negative test as a condition of carriage; we understand Jetstar has taken a commercial decision not to implement such a policy.”
A spokesperson for the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet’s Covid-19 Group said under the framework, public transport operators were prohibited from requiring vaccine passes, except for airline operators, long-haul scenic trains and Cook Strait ferry operators, which had been dealt with separately “due to the nature and scale of travel involved”.
The Government had determined these operators were able to decide what level of checking was practicable for their services.
But University of Otago public health professor Michael Baker, who earlier expressed concern about Jetstar’s use of spot checks of vaccine passes and tests for passengers travelling out of Auckland, said the airline should be taking responsibility for staff and passenger safety by enforcing its own vaccine or test policy.