Qantas brings forward international flying to November

World News

Qantas will restart its international flying a month earlier than expected after Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced on Friday Australia’s international border would reopen in November.

Mr Morrison said the ban on international travel in place since March 20 last year would lift for states that had vaccinated 80 per cent of their adult population, which would start with NSW.

Qantas has put international tickets back on sale from November 14. Credit:Getty

Australian citizens and permanent residents who are inoculated with a vaccine approved or recognised by the Therapeutic Goods Administration will be able to do seven days home quarantine, Mr Morrison said. Unvaccinated travellers will still need to complete 14 days in hotel quarantine.

Qantas had put flights to major overseas destinations on sale from December 18, but on Friday afternoon said it would bring that forward in light of the Prime Minister’s announcement.

The airline will now start flying three weekly Sydney-London services and three weekly Sydney-Los Angeles return flights from November 14.

“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,” Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said.

The November flights could be moved forward or back depending on when the exact date for reopening the border is known. Qantas has consistently sold, and then been forced to cancel, tickets for international fights throughout the pandemic.

Qantas said other routes set to restart in December – including to Japan, Singapore, Canada and Fiji – could also restart earlier if other states agree to operate home quarantine and open their international border.

All passengers need to be fully vaccinated and also return a negative PCR COVID-19 test 72 hours before their departure.

Qantas has only been operating government-funded repatriation flights during the pandemic, while foreign airlines such as Singapore, Emirates and Etihad have been operating under strict passenger caps in line with hotel quarantine capacity, limiting them to as few as 10 passengers on each flight.

Under the reopening plan, this cap will be lifted for all vaccinated Australians. Crucially, Mr Morrison said on Friday that the TGA intended to recognise Australians jabbed overseas with China’s Sinovac or India’s Covishield as being vaccinated for inbound travel.

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