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Qantas and its low-cost sister airline Jetstar will restart regular international passenger flights to most destinations from Oct. 31, the carriers announced. The airlines previously had anticipated flying internationally this July, but that has been pushed back to allow Australia's Covid-19 vaccine rollout to be effectively complete.
Qantas said it will resume flights to 22 of its 25 pre-Covid international destinations, including London, Los Angeles, Singapore and Johannesburg, from that date. It initially will not resume direct flights to New York, Santiago and Osaka, but "remains committed to flying to these three destinations." Passengers will be able to fly to these destinations under codeshare or Oneworld arrangements with partner airlines.
The airline is trialing digital health pass apps, including CommonPass and IATA Travel Pass, to help support the resumption of Covid-safe international travel. Qantas said capacity would be lower than pre-Covid levels, with frequencies and aircraft type deployed on each route in line with the projected recovery of international flying, and did not expect international capacity to fully recover until 2024.
Jetstar will resume flights to all of its 13 international destinations on 31 October.
The airline group made the announcement as it posted a statutory pre-tax loss of A$1.47 billion (US$1.13 billion).
Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said: "These figures are stark but not surprising. During the half we saw the second wave in Victoria and the strictest domestic travel restrictions since the pandemic began. Virtually all of our international flying and 70 percent of domestic flying stopped, and with it went three-quarters of our revenue."
He added: "The Covid vaccine rollout in Australia will take time, but the fact it's underway gives us more certainty. More certainty that domestic borders can stay open because frontline and quarantine workers will be vaccinated in a matter of weeks. And more certainty that international borders can open when the nationwide rollout is effectively complete by the end of October."
Originally published by BTN Europe.
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