Based on hopes that vaccines will help the world gain control of the coronavirus outbreak, Qantas is planning to be up and running by the end of this year. That’s right, if Australia stays on track with its vaccination rollout, which is projected to reach 80 per cent in December, you could be jetting off overseas as early as Christmas!
The national carrier made the announcement on Thursday saying it plans to bring back international flights to Fiji, Singapore, the United States, Japan, United Kingdom and Canada by mid-December. It’s also hopeful that the trans-Tasman travel bubble with New Zealand will be up and running by then too.
Under its plan, flights to Hong Kong would restart in February, while flights to places with lower vaccination rates like Bali, Jakarta, Manila, Bangkok, Phuket, Ho Chi Minh City and Johannesburg would restart from April 2022.
“The prospect of flying overseas might feel a long way off, especially with New South Wales and Victoria in lockdown, but the current pace of the vaccine rollout means we should have a lot more freedom in a few months,” Qantas Chief Executive Officer Alan Joyce said.
“It’s obviously up to government exactly how and when our international borders re-open, but with Australia on track to meet the 80 per cent trigger agreed by national cabinet by the end of the year, we need to plan ahead for what is a complex restart process.
“We can adjust our plans if the circumstances change, which we’ve already had to do several times during this pandemic. Some people might say we’re being too optimistic, but based on the pace of the vaccine rollout, this is within reach and we want to make sure we’re ready.”
However, Qantas said its plan was dependent on the Federal Government’s decisions in the coming months including requirements for returning travellers.
International travel is already back up and running for those in the US, UK and in and around Europe.
The exciting announcement comes just a few days after Qantas announced mega prize rewards for fully vaccinated passengers, with a year’s worth of flights, free accomodation and fuel vouchers up for grabs.
The airline said on Sunday that it was the carrier’s way of thanking vaccinated Australians for doing their part to help get the country “back to normal”. Fully vaccinated Australian-based Frequent Flyers who are 18 and over are now able to claim their reward through the Qantas App by choosing one of three options: 1000 Qantas points, 15 status credits (which help Frequent Flyers move up between Silver, Gold and Platinum tiers), or a $20 flight discount for Qantas or Jetstar.