Qantas will restart international flights even sooner than expected, bringing the date forward to November 1, 2021 after the Australian government confirmed borders will open on that date.
In a further boost for Qantas, the government in New South Wales has also removed quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated travelers.
The Australian flag carrier will operate up to five return flights a week from Sydney to London, via Darwin, and up to four return flights a week from Sydney to Los Angeles using its Boeing 787 Dreamliners. The airline said it can add more flights to meet demand if needed.
“Bringing forward the reopening of Australia to the world and removing quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated travelers entering New South Wales is a massive step towards life as we knew it,” chief executive Alan Joyce commented in a press release on October 15, 2021.
Joyce continued: “We have thousands of our pilots and cabin crew wanting to get back to work and they will be thrilled at today’s announcement. It will still be a long time before international travel returns to normal but this is a fantastic start.”
On October 1, 2021, the airline had announced that it would be resuming international flights on 14 November 2021. Any passengers who have already booked and wish to bring their travel date forward can do so without paying the change fee, Qantas said on October 15, 2021.
However, the flights are initially limited to Australian citizens or permanent residents and their immediate families. Qantas also requires all travelers aged 12 and over to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Qantas provides the following information for passengers:
All passengers on Qantas 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, customers on these flights will also be required to return a negative COVID test from an approved PCR testing site 72 hours prior to departure.
The NSW Government will advise on what additional testing requirements will be required on arrival in the coming days.