Information for Visa Applications from South Africa
(087 550 5282 / 082 733 5236)

Australia’s Qantas hopes to resume international flights by Christmas, CEO says

Australia’s Qantas hopes to resume international flights by Christmas, CEO says

Australian carrier Qantas expects international flights to the U.S., the U.K. and parts of Asia to resume by Christmas, CEO Alan Joyce said Thursday.

Since March last year, Australia has closed its borders to most foreign visitors and banned residents from leaving unless they had valid reasons.

“We know there’s huge underlying demand. People don’t want another Christmas where they are isolated from their families, let alone internationally, but [also] in Australia,” Joyce said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia.”

A spike in local Covid-19 cases in recent months forced Australian states and territories to step up restrictions, including limitations on interstate travel and stay-at-home notices in high-risk areas.

Joyce said Qantas is planning its operations on the assumption that Australia’s two most populous states — New South Wales and Victoria — will lift most of their border restrictions to the rest of the country by Dec. 1.

That would be followed by an assumption that international border restrictions will ease as more Australians get vaccinated. “And, that by Christmas, we will see markets like Singapore, the U.K., Japan and the U.S. ... open up as well,” he added.

The countries named are considered highly vaccinated, with at least 43% of the population fully inoculated.

The state of New South Wales reported more than 1,000 local Covid-19 cases over a 24-hour period as of 8 p.m. local time Wednesday — it’s reportedly the highest number of daily cases reported in Australia since the pandemic began.

Vaccines are crucial

Australia’s vaccination rates are also climbing after a sluggish rollout at the start.

Information collated by online publication Our World In Data showed nearly 25% of the population has been fully vaccinated as of Aug. 24 — compared to just under 6% at the end of June. Australian government data showed that as of Wednesday, 32.3% of those over the age of 16 — or around 6.6 million people — were fully vaccinated.