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Australia-New Zealand travel bubble off to fast, emotional start

Quarantine-free trips raise hopes for an economic shot in the arm

SYDNEY -- Hundreds of Australian passengers on Monday were greeted at Auckland Airport with welcome signs and live music, as New Zealand opened its doors to quarantine-free travel from its bigger neighbor for the first time since COVID-19 brought the world to a standstill in March 2020.

The two-way "trans-Tasman travel bubble" officially began at 11:59 p.m. New Zealand time on Sunday night, with the first Australian flight from Sydney landing in Auckland past midday.

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