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A woman hugs a family member before his departure for New Zealand at Sydney International Airport on April 19, 2021.

There were emotional scenes at Australian airports as Australia and New Zealand opened a travel bubble, meaning travelers between the countries won't have to enter quarantine after landing.

"It's been 16 months since I've seen any member of my family, so (I'm) pretty excited," said Sherie Marshall, who was heading to New Zealand from Melbourne.

Jacky Bramley, traveling from Sydney to join her children and parents, said she was expecting "a lot of hugs, a lot of tears, but happy tears."

The chief executive of Australia's flag carrier Qantas, Alan Joyce, hailed the relaxation of restrictions.

"It's the first time in 400 days that people can travel quarantine-free, and we're adding 16 return flights a day to New Zealand, and they're full," Joyce said.

He said he'd like to see other international borders opening up too, but in a safe way.

Australia and New Zealand both managed to largely keep the coronavirus out by implementing strict quarantine requirements for inbound travelers.