Qantas and its subsidiary Jetstar intend to resume flights to “most international destinations” from the end of October, a four-month delay to previous announced plans.
The group said that the date change “aligns with the expected timeframe for Australia’s Covid-19 vaccine rollout to be effectively complete”.
In November last year Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said that Covid-19 vaccinations would be “a necessity” for international flights.
Qantas boss says vaccination will be “a necessity” for international flights
A total of 22 of Qantas’ 25 international destinations are set to resume from October 31, including flights to Los Angeles, London, Singapore and Johannesburg. Jetstar plans to resume flights to all 13 of its international destinations.
Qantas said that direct routes to New York, Santiago and Osaka “won’t initially resume”, but stressed that it “remains committed to flying to these three destinations”.
The carrier also warned that international capacity is not expected to full recover until 2024, stating that frequencies and aircraft type deployed on routes will be “in line with the projected recovery of international flying”.
Travellers will not find Qantas’ 12 A380s operating any routes for a few more years.
Instead when flying long-haul they will likely find themselves onboard one of Qantas’ B787s. That means Qantas will be providing less capacity.
It’s also reported Qantas has deferred a decision on whether or not to order the A350-1000. Qantas had intended to deploy this ultra long-haul Airbus for ‘Project Sunrise’.
The group said that it “remains in close consultation with the Federal Government around the reopening of international borders and will keep customers updated if further adjustments are required”.
Qantas also confirmed that it is assessing the use of digital health pass apps “to help support the resumption of Covid-safe international travel”, with trials being conducted on international repatriation flights using The Common Pass and IATA Travel Pass schemes.
The group plans to ramp up Trans-Tasman flights to New Zealand from July 1, and said that it “has the ability to respond to travel bubbles that may open”.
Qantas has also announced additional flexibility for international bookings, with the carrier’s Fly Flexible policy (previously only available on domestic and Trans-Tasman services) being extended to international flights booked “until at least the end of April 2021”. The policy allows unlimited fee-free date changes (fare differences may apply).
Finally the carrier has extended credit vouchers for Covid-19 disruptions to enable travel until December 31, 2023, on both domestic and international services.