After Qantas revealed the first flights from Sydney and Melbourne to London will depart on December 18, Brits in Australia will be able to reunite with their family in time for Christmas.
Flights to Los Angeles, Vancouver, and Singapore will resume on that day, with Tokyo and Fiji following the next day and Honolulu the day after that.
Australian nationals and permanent residents can currently only leave the country with an exemption, as Qantas has suspended all commercial overseas flights other than government-supplied repatriations.
Those returning must stay in a hotel for two weeks, although it is hoped that the federal government would reduce that rule later this year in favor of home quarantine or confirmation of vaccination status.
The airline previously revealed plans to resume foreign flights in August, but only now has it verified the exact dates that would be available for booking on its website.
Flights from Sydney to London through Perth on the 18th of December are currently available for as little as $2,794.
Qantas has previously stated that its worldwide re-opening will be “gradual,” with an emphasis on low-risk nations first, including those with high vaccination uptakes, such as the United Kingdom, the United States, and portions of Asia.
The airline is also resuming services between Australia and New Zealand, with a December resumption of the currently suspended trans-Tasman travel bubble.
Qantas has delayed its return to higher-risk locations like Bali, Bangkok, Manila, and Johannesburg until April 2022.
Alan Joyce, the company’s CEO, stated in August that while the possibility of flying overseas may seem far away, the current rate of vaccination distribution indicates that we will soon regain our freedoms.
“Of course, it is up to the government to determine how and when our international borders reopen, but with Australia on track to achieve the 80% trigger approved by national cabinet by the end of the year, we need to plan ahead for what will be a difficult restart process,” Joyce said.
“A lot of work needs to be done, including educating our staff and cautiously reintroducing aircraft into service.
We are also trying to incorporate the IATA travel pass into our systems to assist our customers in proving their vaccination status and crossing borders.
“We can amend our plans if circumstances change, as we have had to do multiple times during this pandemic.
Some may argue that we are being overly optimistic but based on the pace of vaccine deployment, this is within reach, and we want to make sure we are prepared.”
Earlier this year, Qantas delayed the start of international operations from October to December, despite federal government modeling indicating that borders would stay closed until mid-2022.
It occurred as the airline reported a $1.83 billion statutory loss before tax, mostly due to unexpected and persistent border closures in the second half of the fiscal year.