Air New Zealand chief executive Greg Foran says Australia and New Zealand are unlikely to form a travel bubble until March 2021.

Speaking to The Sydney Morning Herald, Foran said it could in fact take longer for trans-Tasman travel to resume.

“I certainly do not believe we will see anything across the Tasman this calendar year. It’s hard to believe it would be before March next year and could well be longer,” Foran told the Sydney-based newspaper.

“If it comes back quicker, we’re going to pop some champagne.”

Australia and New Zealand’s governments were planning to have a travel bubble that would allow quarantine-free travel between the two countries this year.

However, hopes of a bubble were dashed due to rising Covid-19 cases in the Australian state of Victoria, as well as the resurgence of the disease in New Zealand in early August, after the country had eliminated the virus in June.

Foran also told The Sydney Morning Herald that getting rid of the virus completely is not a realistic goal and countries need to learn to live with it.

“Elimination, which is a worthy thing to go after, is probably not sustainable based on what we’re now learning, which is the vaccine is not going to be 100 per cent effective, not everybody is going to take it, and it’s going to take years to get distributed,” said Foran.