Qantas has pushed back its planned international flights to late December 2021.
The Australian flag carrier and its subsidiary Jetstar intended to resume flights to “most international destinations” from the end of October, which already represented a four-month delay to previous announced plans.
The airline said that the decision is a result of the Federal Government’s revised timelines for the completion of Australia’s vaccine rollout, and the significant reopening of the country’s international borders.
Nonetheless, the trans-Tasman flights which resumed last month will continue to go ahead.
Commenting on the news, the Australian flag carrier said:
“We remain optimistic that additional bubbles will open once Australia’s vaccine rollout is complete to countries who, by then, are in a similar position, but it’s difficult to predict which ones at this stage. This planning assumption will allow the Qantas Group – and Australia – to be ready to take advantage of pockets of tourism and trade opportunity as they emerge in a post-COVID world.”
These plans will be reviewed as “we move towards December and circumstances evolve”, according to the airline.
The airline will contact customers with bookings between October 31, 2021, and December 19, 2021, but noted that “recent levels of uncertainty meant international booking levels were relatively low”.
Qantas will continue to provide repatriation and freight flights overseas, and said that “the resurgence of domestic travel remains the most important element of the Group’s recovery”.
Meanwhile, Australia has been listed on the UK government’s new green list of destinations deemed as being safe for travellers to return to England from without having to quarantine.
In November last year Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said that Covid-19 vaccinations would be “a necessity” for international flights.