Following the federal government’s statement that Australia’s foreign crossings will reopen next month, Qantas has officially confirmed that it will move its planned starting date for international flights to November 14.
Qantas said on Friday that this date could be changed in the future if the government determines a specific date for the reopening of international borders.
“Flights will be brought forward if [this date] is earlier than 14 November or moved to later in the month, if necessary,” Qantas said.
As of now, the Flying Kangaroo has stated that beginning November 14, it would fly three weekly return flights between Sydney and London, as well as three weekly return flights between Sydney and Los Angeles, both on Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners.
According to the airline, they are the two most popular routes on its website in recent weeks.
If necessary, the airline will increase the number of flights to satisfy rising demand.
Customers who book on these inaugural flights will be able to make “fee-free” date modifications for travel through December 31, 2022, albeit a cost difference may apply. Customers may be eligible for a refund or credit voucher if their flights are canceled.
In addition, as previously stated by the airline, all passengers on Qantas foreign flights will be required to be completely vaccinated with a TGA-approved or recognized vaccination, as well as return a negative COVID-19 PCR test 72 hours before departure.
“The early reopening of Australia’s international borders will mean so much to so many people and it’s made possible by the amazing ramp-up of the vaccine rollout,” Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said.
“We know Australians can’t wait to travel overseas and be reunited with their loved ones, and literally thousands are waiting to come back home, so this faster restart is fantastic news. It also means we can get more of our people back to work, sooner.”
“We welcome the federal government’s decision and the work by the New South Wales government to facilitate the home quarantine approach that makes this feasible. We look forward to other states and territories getting on board.”
Joyce stated that the airline has already sold out of several of its overseas flights scheduled for mid-December and that there has been “strong demand” for flights to London and Los Angeles in particular.
“We’re confident there will be a lot of interest in these earlier services,” he said.
“We know many frequent flyers have been stockpiling their points over the past 18 months to use on an overseas flight, so we’re making more seats available to be booked with points alone,” he added.
Joyce stated that “ongoing demand for overseas flights” will “largely depend” on how the government handles quarantine rules in the future.
“The shift to seven-day home quarantine for fully vaccinated Australians with a negative test is a great step towards reducing this closer to what is becoming standard in many countries overseas, which is a test and release program,” he said.
On Friday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that properly vaccinated individuals and residents will be able to leave the country freely and return without hotel quarantine in November.
The new restrictions, which will take effect once states reach 80% double-dose immunization, will require those returning to the country to quarantine at home for seven days.
In the coming weeks, the administration will also release a number of quarantine-free travel bubbles, allowing the country to welcome tourists for the first time in 18 months.
“It’s time to give Australians their lives back,” said Prime Minister Morrison. “Let’s get vaccinated and get on with it.”
The much-anticipated vaccine passport for overseas travel will also be available “in the coming weeks.”
Qantas anticipated in August that Australia’s international crossings would reopen by December as a result of its aggressive vaccine deployment, and later verified that flights will resume on December 18.
Qantas confirmed in mid-September that the first flights from Australia to London, Los Angeles, Vancouver, and Singapore will depart on December 18, with flights to Tokyo, Fiji, and Honolulu resumed two days later.