Qantas has outlined its route to restarting international flights, with a mid-December 2021 target linked to the vaccine rollout in Australia and key overseas markets.
The national carrier hopes that its strategy for restarting international flights could see Australians enjoying the festive season and reconnecting with business partners in Singapore, which is pushing to reopen to foreign visitors, including a recent vaccinated travel lane with Germany and Brunei.
If all go as planned, by the end of the year Qantas will also be flying to the US, Japan, the UK and Canada.
The trans-Tasman travel bubble with New Zealand, currently suspended, is also expected to relaunch in December.
Qantas, which has recorded a AU$1.8 billion (US$1.3 billion) full-year loss, plans for five of its Airbus A380s to return to service ahead of schedule. These are scheduled to fly between Sydney and Los Angeles from July 2022, and between Sydney and London (via Singapore) from November 2022.
The national airline says it expects its non-stop flight between the UK and Australia, first launched three years ago, to be in higher demand post-Covid, but is mulling a switch to Darwin-London rather than Perth-London, due to Covid lockdown concerns in Western Australia.
Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said, “The prospect of flying overseas might feel a long way off, but the current pace of the vaccine rollout means we should have a lot more freedom in a few months’ time.”