Qantas is pushing back its plan to resume international flight services until late October 2021.
Qantas earlier planned to resume international services on 1st July,2021, but now the airline plans to resume international services in late October, 4 months later than the previously planned. That date was widely regarded as overly ambitious.
As the Australian flag carrier unveiled its half-yearly financial results, the airline on Thursday confirmed that most international flights would remain off the books for another eight months.
Although the carrier had planned a full resumption of international flights from July, it is now adopting a more cautious approach.
Qantas in a statement said :
Capacity will be lower than pre-COVID levels, with frequencies and aircraft type deployed on each route in line with the projected recovery of international flying. International capacity is not expected to fully recover until 2024.
No flights to New York, SanTiago and Osaka yet
While the airline is planning to resume flights to 22 of its 25 pre-COVID international destinations including Los Angeles, London, Singapore and Johannesburg from 31st October,2021, it won’t initially resume direct flights to New York, Santiago and Osaka but ‘remains committed to flying to these three destinations’.
The airline also said that it is planning for a significant increase in flights to and from New Zealand under the travel bubble from 1st July,2021.
Qantas says their October date lines up with the expected timeframe for the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccination in Australia. The airline also notes that ‘the CommonPass and IATA Travel Pass smartphone apps are being trialled on the airline’s international repatriation flights.’
JetStar also planning to resume international flights
It’s not just Qantas that is looking to resume international services. Low-cost subsidiary JetStar also plans to resume international flights from 31st October,2021, to all the 13 destinations that it previously served. However, the group notes that frequencies will be adjusted in line with the demand.
Additional flexibility and extension of credit vouchers
Qantas also announced additional flexibility for international bookings to enable customers to book flights ‘with confidence.’
Qantas’ updated Fly Flexible policy (previously only available for domestic and Trans Tasman flights) now applies to international flights booked from today until at least the end of April 2021. The flight date can be changed to any available for sale at the time (up to 355 days in advance). Qantas will waive the change fee however a fare difference may apply.
The airline has also extended credit vouchers to enable travel until 31st December,2023 on domestic or international flights, with Jetstar doing the same for vouchers issued due to COVID-19 disruptions.
The carrier further notes that ‘customers with international bookings impacted by cancellations will be contacted directly and offered alternatives.’
Featured image by Getty Images
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