Qantas aims to restart flights to and from Britain in mid-December, in plans linked to the Covid vaccine rollout in Australia and in several of the airline’s major destinations.
The carrier’s initial focus – pending Australian government acceptance – will be on countries with high vaccination rates, including the UK, Japan, Singapore, Canada and the US, the airline said in a statement.
Australia’s government has drafted a plan to begin the gradual reopening of international borders once the country reaches a vaccination rate of 80%, which looks likely to be achieved in December.
Flights to countries with low vaccination rates are expected to be delayed until next April, including Indonesia, South Africa, Thailand and Vietnam, Qantas said.
Qantas said its ability to fly non-stop between Australia and London was expected to be in strong demand post-Covid.
The airline said it was investigating using Darwin as a transit point, instead of its existing Perth hub, due to tight border control policies in Western Australia amid the pandemic.
Darwin has been Qantas’s main entry for repatriation flights during the Covid crisis.
“The prospect of flying overseas might feel a long way off, especially with New South Wales and Victoria in lockdown, but the current pace of the vaccine rollout means we should have a lot more freedom in a few months’ time,” Qantas Group chief executive Alan Joyce said.