Australia's flag carrier Qantas has announced that it aims to resume international flights by the end of October 2021.
The airline plans to restore international flights by the fall, as well as flights by Jetstar, the lower-priced carrier owned by the company. The timing is aligned with when the country’s COVID-19 vaccination programme is expected to conclude. The carrier remains in close consultation with the Australian government, and if the situation changes, its dates for resuming international flights will also be revised.
According to Qantas CEO, Alan Joyce, the October date "seems sensible and in some ways conservative.” It is understandable that Qantas would be cautious, as back in January, it started selling tickets to and from Australia from July 1, as it hoped international flights might resume then. Customers who bought tickets were protected as the airline offered customers full refunds, a free change of date or travel vouchers if their plans were disrupted by an extension of border closures.
At present, Qantas aims to resume 22 of its 25 overseas routes from 31 October, while Jetstar will resume all of its 13 international routes. It has said it will require international travelers to be vaccinated in order to board flights. The airline, which was recently named the safest in the world, also intends to increase its volume of trans-Tasman flights to New Zealand by July.
It is advisable for those planning trips to note that a date for the resumption of international travel has not been announced. "Decisions about when international travel resumes will be made by the Australian Government," deputy prime minister, Michael McCormack, said in January. "Operations and ticket sales on particular routes are commercial decisions for airlines. International borders will be opened when international arrivals do not pose a risk to Australians."
This article was originally published on January 12, 2021 and updated on February 26, 2021.
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