After an almost two-year restriction on overseas visitors, Australia has finally opened its doors to them.
The historic journey, which departed LAX at 9:02 pm on February 19 as flight QF12 and landed in Sydney at 6:16 am this morning, was operated by Qantas’ only operating A380, VH-OQB.
It’s the final step in Australia’s reopening of its borders, which began with residents and citizens flying in November last year and then expanded to students, backpackers, and skilled migrants in December.
As the number of COVID cases increased, the federal authorities gradually tightened travel restrictions beginning in late March 2020.
Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said, “It’s fair to say we’ve all been waiting a long time to welcome visitors back to Australia.
“The thousands of international tourists arriving this week and many more over the coming months will help kickstart the tourism industry which has done it tough for the past couple of years.
“We can clearly see from the Australian Government’s announcement that people are very keen to come back to Australia, and we continue to see strong bookings out of the US and UK, as well as South Africa and Canada.”
This week, the Qantas Group will fly over 14,000 passengers into Australia, with flights beginning on Monday from eight different cities, including Vancouver, Singapore, and London.