Australia’s flagship carrier Qantas on Wednesday said its planned recommencement of international flights would be delayed until late December as the country’s government indicated it does not expect to reopen international borders until 2022.
“We remain optimistic that additional bubbles will open once Australia’s vaccine rollout is complete to countries who, by then, are in a similar position, but it’s difficult to predict which ones at this stage, In light of these 2 dates, Qantas will adjust its planned international flights from end-October 2021 to late December 2021” it said in a statement.
The airline was due to restart services at the end of October but on Wednesday pushed back the date. The changes will still leave flights to and from New Zealand are unaffected. Treasury expects international travel to remain low through to mid-2022 before a gradual recovery in international tourism. Qantas considers the new theory would ready the company to take advantage of tourism and trade in a post-coronavirus world.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg stressed the border timeline was his department’s assumptions rather than government policy. “We will open the international borders when it’s safe to do so, we cannot afford to take the risk right now to open our borders in a way that would compromise the health of Australians,” he told the Media.
The country of around 25 million people fell far short of its initial target to administer 4 million vaccinations by the end of March, as of May 11, just over 2.8 million vaccinations were administered. Qantas will continue providing repatriation and freight flights from overseas. Customers who booked international tickets for travel between October and December will be contacted by Qantas.