The Qantas group are preparing to restart their international flights with plans in place linked to vaccine rollout in Australia and key overseas markets.
Plans remain dependent on Government decisions in the comping months, including future quarantine requirements. Once Australia reaches its vaccination threshold of 80 percent, likely to be sometime in November to early December 2021 the gradual reopening of international borders is expected to take place.
Destinations with high vaccination rates will be the initial focus including North America, UK, Singapore and Japan. These countries post low risk for vaccinated travellers to visit and return from under reduced quarantine requirements. Flights to destinations with low vaccine rates and high levels of Covid-19 will be pushed back to April 2022 – including Bali, Bangkok, Phuket, Ho Chi Minh City and Johannesburg. Capacity levels will be dependent largely on government decisions on alternative quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated travellers.
Qantas’ ability to fly non-stop between Australia and London is expected to be in even higher demand post-COVID. The airline is investigating using Darwin as a transit point, which has been Qantas’ main entry for repatriation flights, as an alternative (or in addition) to its existing Perth hub given conservative border policies in Western Australia. Discussions on this option are continuing.
Mr Joyce (Qantas CEO) commented that “There’s a lot of work that needs to happen, including training for our people and carefully bringing aircraft back into service. We’re also working to integrate the IATA travel pass into our systems to help our customers prove their vaccine status and cross borders." He notes that “It’s obviously up to government exactly how and when our international borders re-open, but with Australia on track to meet the 80 per cent trigger agreed by National Cabinet by the end of the year, we need to plan ahead for what is a complex restart process."
Qantas has recently extended its Fly Flexible policy, offering customers who book international flights before 28 February 2022 with unlimited ‘fee free’ date changes when travelling before 31 December 2022. (A fare difference may apply).
For more information visit the QF Group Strategy article.