While Australia’s borders are expected to remain essentially closed until late next year, Qantas is reviewing its schedule roughly three months at a time. The carrier has now officially canceled all flights to the US and Japan until January 31st, 2021. Meanwhile, a Qantas flight from Auckland, New Zealand, is set to land in Sydney tomorrow as a one-way travel corridor between the countries comes into effect.
Flights to the US, Japan, and the Philippines are off the schedule
On Qantas’ website, officially, all international flights (except for some between Australia and New Zealand, which will recommence tomorrow, October 16th) are canceled until November 30th.
It was always going to be longer than that, however. Qantas has previously expressed doubts that Australia’s international borders will reopen before the second half of next year. Now, officials say a reestablishing of cross-border travel could take as long as until the end of 2021. As reported by Executive Traveller, all Qantas flights to the US have now formally disappeared from the Australian flag carrier’s schedules until at least February.
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Flights to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Dallas/Fort Worth, New York, and Honolulu have all been canceled until January 31st. A quick search reveals that beyond that, they are still bookable, although it is hard to imagine anyone optimistic enough to do so at this point in time.
Moreover, all flights to Japan, with destinations Tokyo, Osaka, and Sapporo, have also been suspended until the same date. Qantas’ service to Manila, the Philippines, is canceled until March 27th.
Opening up for refund requests
What this means is that customers with tickets booked for these flights can now officially request a refund from the airline. As such, it is understandable that Qantas doesn’t want to cancel flights more than three months at a time, even though their actual resumption seems much further into the future.
The carrier faces an estimated US$720 million in refund charges, and so it makes sense to spread them out. It may be setting its hopes on a slowly rebounding domestic demand to generate some cashflow.
As with many airlines, Qantas is trying to get customers to expect credit vouchers, with an extra 10% value thrown in on top and valid until December 31st, 2022, to as great an extent as possible.
Three flights from NZ to land in Sydney on Friday
As previously stated, Qantas is set to resume a limited number of flights from Australia to Auckland in New Zealand. Under the deal of the trans-Tasman travel bubble, New Zealanders will be allowed to enter Australia’s New South Wales, where Sydney is located, and Northern Territory, starting tomorrow, Friday, October 16th.
Although, “bubble” may be an inappropriate term in this case as it is more of a one-way corridor. The borders of New Zealand will remain closed, and those traveling back from Australia must still submit to a two-week quarantine.
Three flights will land in Sydney on Friday after the bubble officially comes into effect at midnight. Air New Zealand, Jetstar, and Qantas will land at 12:22, 13.40, and 17:55, respectively. Qantas will operate the service with a 737-800.