One Week To Go: Qantas Brings Forward International Restart Again

After an 18 month hiatus, Australian airline Qantas is back. Some international flights are resuming as soon as November 1, and on Friday, the airline announced they would bring a raft of other flight resumption dates forward.

Qantas is resuming some international flights from November 1. Photo: Qantas

Gamble pays off for Qantas

Qantas took a punt a couple of months ago, timetabling in some international flights to resume in mid-December, a move many viewed as unrealistic. But Australia’s soaring vaccination rates are seeing Australia’s border restrictions and travel bans fall away, and Qantas is about to roar back into the air.

As previously announced, Qantas will resume scheduled services between Sydney and Los Angeles and Sydney and London on Monday, November 1. On Friday, Qantas brought the planned flight resumption dates on several other routes forward.

Flights between Sydney to Singapore will resume on 23 November 2021, four weeks earlier than scheduled. Qantas will bring flights between Sydney and Nadi forward by 12 days to December 7. Flights between Sydney and Johannesburg will now resume on January 5, three months earlier than previously announced. Elsewhere on the network, flights between Sydney and Bangkok will now resume on January 14.

Flights to Honolulu, Vancouver, Tokyo, and New Zealand are still scheduled to commence from mid-December. There is still no firm date for resuming flights to destinations such as Santiago and New York.

“In recent weeks, sales on international flights to and from Sydney have outstripped sales on domestic flights,” said Qantas CEO Alan Joyce today.

On Friday, Qantas said it would bring forward the restart date for several long-haul routes. Photo: Qantas

Flights out of Melbourne also brought forward

Hot on the heels of Friday morning’s announcement regarding these ex-Sydney flights, news later in the day that Melbourne would lift quarantine requirements on vaccinated inbound travelers saw Qantas bring forward ex-Melbourne flight resumption dates.

Qantas flights between Melbourne and London will be brought forward to November 6, 2021, six weeks earlier than scheduled, operating two days per week with 787 aircraft and ramping up to daily from 18 December 2021.

Qantas will bring Qantas flights between Melbourne and Singapore forward to November 22, 2021, three weeks ahead of schedule, operating three days per week with A330 aircraft and ramping up to daily from 18 December. Also heading out of Melbourne is Jetstar, recommending flights to Singapore.

Qantas says flights from Melbourne to Los Angeles will restart from 18 December 2021, with other destinations scheduled to recommence in the new year. The airline adds they will look at bringing forward additional destinations if possible.

“It’s great to see Melbourne reopening, and the decision by the Victorian Government to remove quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated travelers will make it easier for people to take the trips they’ve been longing to take,” said Qantas CEO Alan Joyce on Friday. “We’ve immediately brought forward our flights from Melbourne to Singapore and London in response.”

Qantas international flights from Melbourne have also been brought forward. Photo: Qantas

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Qantas jumps on an opportunity

What’s brought on this rapid about-face in Australia? It is, if you like, a perfect storm of events. After a slow start, vaccination rates have soared. Fifty-nine percent of adult Australians are now fully vaccinated, but this is higher in the bigger cities of Sydney (83%) and Melbourne (72%).

After months of lockdowns in both cities, everyone is over it. Some elections are coming up, and voting is compulsory in Australia. A large number of Australians are born overseas with close family offshore who they cannot see. Many more did travel extensively for work. People want their lives back. The politicians who set the draconian rules can sense tolerance levels are wearing very thin and are acting accordingly.

It cannot come a moment too soon for Qantas, who’ve long agitated for Australian safely re-opening. On Friday, CEO Alan Joyce said the last 20 months had been the most challenging in the airline’s 100-year history. He’ll be so happy his planes are about to take off again he’ll probably go down to the airport this weekend and start restocking those drinks carts himself.