(01 Oct 2021)
Qantas will bring forward the restart of its
international flights to 14 November 2021, following today’s
announcement by the Federal Government that Australia’s borders
will open in November.

The national carrier will operate thrice weekly
return flights between Sydney and London, and thrice weekly return
flights between Sydney and Los Angeles with Boeing 787-9
Dreamliner aircraft.

Once the Federal Government
announces the exact date that Australia’s international borders
will reopen in November, the commencement dates for the two
routes may need to be updated. Qantas has said that flights will be brought forward if
it is earlier than 14 November, or moved to later in the month if

All flights on
both routes for the first week will be ‘Points Planes’, meaning
frequent flyers can access uncapped Classic Flight Reward seats across all cabins. Seats on those flights will also be available
as regular flight bookings.

Fares are now on sale for Australian
citizens, permanent residents and their immediate families and
some visa holders. Fares start from A$1662 return for Sydney-Los
Angeles and A$1869 return for Sydney-London.

Customers booked on the flights will have the
flexibility to make ‘fee free’ date changes for travel until 31
December 2022, although a fare difference may apply. If flights are
cancelled, customers may also be eligible for a refund or credit

As previously indicated, all passengers on Qantas’
international flights will be required to be fully vaccinated with
a TGA-approved or recognised vaccine (some exemptions for medical
reasons and children). They will also be required to return a
negative PCR COVID19 test 72 hours prior to departure.

Customers on the flights will be required to home quarantine for
seven days upon arrival into Australia, in accordance with the
requirements of the Federal and New South Wales governments.

At this stage, all other international routes that were
scheduled to resume from 18 December 2021 will continue as
planned, although the airline has said that it 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.

The international flights remain subject to government and
regulatory approval.

Group CEO, Alan Joyce, 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,

“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. 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

Qantas will continue to
operate government-sponsored repatriation services as required,
home quarantine trial flights.

Philip Goh, IATA’s Regional Vice President for
Asia Pacific, said, “This is a step forward. But more can still be
done. The announcement of the November timeline and the removal of
the international arrival caps are positive steps forward. The
reduction of quarantine period and introduction of home quarantine
for vaccinated Australians are also steps in the right direction.
We welcome the use of rapid antigen tests for international
travel. However, still more can be done. Realistically, the woes
of the travel and tourism sectors will persist as long as
passenger caps are retained for unvaccinated arrivals and
quarantine remains even for the vaccinated. International travel
recovery will be muted and restrained when quarantine remains.

“Ultimately, the need to quarantine should be
removed for those who are vaccinated and who test negative prior
to departure for Australia. We urge the Australian government to
follow guidance from WHO on a risk-based approach. This includes
relaxing measures and/or quarantine requirements for travelers who
are fully vaccinated. And to provide alternatives for unvaccinated
individuals through testing. A number of major states – the US,
Canada, European states, have lifted quarantine requirements for
international arrivals. Australia needs to work towards a similar
approach. Airlines will also need more details if this is to be
operationalized in November. Hence it is essential that the
Australian government steps up its engagement with the aviation
sector, to help airlines prepare for the safe and efficient
re-opening of Australia’s borders.”

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