Qantas will bring forward the restart of its international flights by two weeks to 1 November 2021 after the Federal and New South Wales governments confirmed on Friday that borders will reopen on that date.
The national carrier has also welcomed the decision by the NSW Government to remove quarantine arrangements for fully vaccinated arrivals, which is in line with many countries around the world.
Qantas will operate up to five return flights a week from Sydney to London and up to four return flights a week from Sydney to Los Angeles with its Boeing 787 Dreamliners from 1 November.
It said in a statement that more flights will be added to meet demand, if needed. Flights to London will operate via Darwin until at least April 2022.
Limits on those who can take early flights
These initial flights are limited to Australian citizens, permanent residents and their immediate families and parents – in line with Australian Government requirements, the airline said.
Flights to other destinations – including Singapore, Fiji and Vancouver in Canada – are still scheduled to commence from 18 December, with other destinations to restart in the new year.
However, in light of the shift to remove quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated travellers arriving in New South Wales, Qantas hopes to bring forward some additional flights from Sydney, if possible.
“Bringing forward the reopening of Australia to the world and removing quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated travellers entering New South Wales is a massive step towards [returning to] life as we knew it,” Qantas Group CEO, Alan Joyce, said.
Qantas workers will be thrilled, says CEO
“We have thousands of our pilots and cabin crew wanting to get back to work and they will be thrilled at [the] announcement. It will still be a long time before international travel returns to normal, but this is a fantastic start.
“Removing quarantine for the fully vaccinated is a sensible approach and brings New South Wales into line with many other global [destinations].”
According to Qantas, all passengers on its international flights (aged 12 years and older) will be required to be fully vaccinated with a TGA-approved vaccine, unless they have an exemption.
As part of Government requirements, people on these flights will also be required to return a negative Covid test from an approved PCR-testing site 72 hours prior to departure.