Qantas announced on August 26, 2021 that it expects to resume its international flights by December of 2021. According to the airline’s projection, Australia is targeted to reach 80% of its vaccination rate of the targeted adult population by December 2021. This will then allow both domestic and international border restrictions to ease.
The airline is targeting a gradual reopening as it focuses on countries with high vaccination rates and low COVID-19 risk. Its targeted first destinations to fly to are Singapore, the United States, Japan, United Kingdom and Canada.
Meanwhile, flights to ‘high-risk’ cities with low vaccination rates such as Bali, Bangkok, Phuket, Manila, Ho Chi Minh City and Johannesburg will be deferred to at least April 2022.
Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said that a lot of factors are still dependent on the Federal Government’s decision.
“It’s obviously up to the government exactly how and when our international borders reopen, but with Australia on track to meet the 80 percent target agreed by the national cabinet by the end of the year, we need to plan ahead for that is a complex restart process,” Joyce said in a statement. “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.”
This announcement came at the same time Qantas posted a pre-tax annual loss of $1.83 billion after a full year of closed international borders and more than 330 days of domestic travel restrictions. Joyce said that the pandemic has cost the airline a loss of $16 billion in revenue so far and that this is expected to grow to $20 billion by end of 2021.