Qantas has announced that it will bring forward the resumption of scheduled passenger international flights to 14th November 2021, following Australian Government’s announcement that Australia’s borders will open in November.
The national carrier of Australia will operate 3-weekly flights between Sydney and London (with a refuelling stop in Darwin) & 3-weekly flights between Sydney and Los Angeles with Boeing B787 Dreamliners. The airline states that these two are the most searched on qantas.com in recent weeks and it says that more flights will be added to meet demand, if needed.
For the first week, all flights on both the routes will be ‘Points Planes’, meaning frequent flyers can access uncapped Classic Flight Reward seats across all cabins. Seats on these flights will also be available as regular flight bookings. Bookings got these flights are now open for Australian citizens, permanent residents and their immediate families and some visa holders. Fares start from $1662 return for Sydney-Los Angeles and $1869 return for Sydney-London.
The Sydney-based carrier adds that once the government of Australia announces the exact date that Australia’s international borders will reopen in November, the commencement dates for these two routes “may” need to be updated. Flights will be brought forward if its earlier than 14th November 2021 or moved to later in the month if necessary. Qantas assures that passengers booked on these flights will have the flexibility to make ‘fee free’ date changes for travel until 31st December 2022 (a fare difference may apply). If flights are cancelled, then passengers may also be eligible for a refund or credit voucher.
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Alan Joyce, CEO, Qantas Group, said:
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. 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.
Alan also stated that Qantas has already sold some of the international flights for December 2021.
We’d already sold out some of our international flights for December and seen strong demand on flights to and from London and Los Angeles, so we’re confident there will be a lot of interest in these earlier services. 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. Beyond the initial rush, the ongoing demand for international flights will hinge largely on what the quarantine requirements are. 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.
All passengers on Qantas’ international flights will be required to be fully vaccinated with a TGA-approved or recognised vaccine (some exemptions are there for medical reasons and children). They will also be required to present a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR test conducted 72 hours prior to departure.
Passengers arriving on these flights will be required to home quarantine for 7 days on arrival in Australia, as per the requirements from the Federal and New South Wales governments.
Additionally, Qantas states that “all other international routes that were scheduled to resume from 18 December 2021 will continue as planned, although the Group has the flexibility to add additional routes if other states and territories decide to open their borders earlier and reduce quarantine requirements to seven days at home, or less”.
Meanwhile, Qantas has announced the resumption of flights to Proserpine for the first time in seven years and has also announced a significant domestic expansion including deploying its Boeing B787 Dreamliners on some domestic routes. The airline has resumed flights to Burnie too and will require all of its employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Qantas is rewarding its Australian Frequent Flyers who are fully vaccinated in order to support vaccination and has outlined strategy for resumption of international flights. The airline’s joint business plan with Japan Airlines has been blocked by Australia’s Competition Commission. Qantas has launched nonstop flights between Adelaide and Townsville too. The Qantas Group has updated its flight schedule as Australia’s state borders are set to reopen.
Featured image by Qantas
What do you think of Qantas bringing forward the start date of resumption of flights to London and Los Angeles? Let me know in the comments section below.