Qantas International Flights Reopening Delayed To December; Cites Vaccination, Border Issues

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Australia's competition regulator said it would block a pricing, code-sharing and scheduling deal between Qantas and Japan Airlines because it would likely mean higher fares for passengers
Australia's competition regulator said it would block a pricing, code-sharing and scheduling deal between Qantas and Japan Airlines because it would likely mean higher fares for passengers AFP / Saeed KHAN

Qantas Airways Ltd. has pushed back the restart of international flights to December as Australia continues to suffer setbacks in its vaccination program. 

The national airline said Wednesday that it is moving the proposed resumption of more international routes from October to the last month of 2021. It initially aimed to offer flights to countries like Singapore, but the delays in domestic vaccinations have compromised this plan.

Qantas also noted the government’s decision to move the reopening of international borders to mid-2022 as a reason for its move. 

“The Federal Government has revised its anticipated timeline for the completion of Australia's vaccine rollout to end-2021 and its timeline for significantly reopening our international borders to mid-2022,” Qantas said.

“In light of these two dates, the Qantas Group will adjust its planned international flights from end-October 2021 to late December 2021.”

Trade Minister Dan Tehan on Friday said the country’s international borders will likely open by mid-2022, at the earliest. He pointed out how “things can change” as the pandemic continues, with Australia recording new cases of COVID-19 in the country.

Tehan did say the government hopes to open more travel bubbles with other nations, similar to the one it has with New Zealand. Qantas also currently offers flights to New Zealand. 

Qantas echoed this sentiment, saying it “remains optimistic” that additional travel bubbles will open soon. 

“We will keep reviewing these plans as we move towards December and circumstances evolve,” it added. 

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