Strong Vaccine Rates Could Reopen US And UK For Qantas Passengers

Earlier this month, Australian authorities shared that they may continue to enforce border closures until the middle of next year. Despite these remarks, Qantas CEO Alan Joyce feels that travel to the United States and the United Kingdom may start earlier than expected.

Qantas (Yam Dreaming Livery) Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner VH-ZND
Qantas’ leadership initially estimated that markets in Asia-Pacific would open up first, but now he has higher hopes with western regions. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

Getting ready

As a result of Australia’s ongoing border closures, Qantas has been forced to announce continued suspensions of its international services. Both the US and UK were strong markets for the airline, but flights have been minimal for over a year due to the pandemic.

Amid strong vaccination records, Joyce has faith that travel to the two countries will open up in the not-so-distant future. So, his airline is preparing well for all prospects.

“A few months ago, I thought maybe Singapore, Taiwan [and] Japan would be the first cabs off the list. But with the great progress that’s been made in the US and the UK, you may actually see those markets opening up before the rest because the vaccine rollout’s been so successful in both countries,” Joyce said, as reported by Executive Traveller.

“We’re still talking to Government about it. We’re still planning to be ready at the end of this year. We’re activating the aircraft, [and] we’re training our crew… I’m hopeful that by the time we get to July-August, we’ll have some certainty on which markets will open and when they’ll open up.”

Amid the downturn of international passenger activity, Qantas’ A380’s aren’t expected to return to action before 2023. Photo: Getty Images

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The conditions

Joyce is looking ahead when it comes to the reopening. However, at the moment, one of these markets, the UK, is still going through instances where officials are announcing new travel restrictions regarding the country. Several nations are concerned about rising cases of new variants.

In contrast, Australia is on the UK’s green list for travel. Here, passengers don’t have to quarantine on return from visiting.

Overall, the situation in the UK may improve over the next few months. Even though cases are rising, figures are still significantly lower than what they were at the turn of the year. After more people receive their second vaccine doses and there is conformity with documentation, there could be a safe system for travel that governments can agree on.

The United States has already seen promising rates of return, with nearly two million passengers flying per day in the country. Airlines based here will undoubtedly be looking to push up numbers when it comes to international travel.

Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine Covishield
At least 40% of the US has been fully vaccinated, while over 48% of the UK population has had a second dose. Photo: Getty Images

Strict requirements

Many Australian residents flying back from abroad have to go through hotel quarantines. In order to reopen travel, these measures may have to be relaxed and replaced with testing and vaccine certification.

Undoubtedly, there are several members of the public eager to head overseas on one of Qantas’ Boeing 787 Dreamliners again. Presently, these widebodies are being used on domestic routes! When it comes to international operations, the best bet for Australians is to take advantage of the travel bubble with New Zealand.

Simple Flying reached out to Qantas for comment on the reports. We will update the article with any further announcements from the airline.

What are your thoughts about the prospects of Qantas bringing forward travel to the United States and the United Kingdom? Do you think this move would work out for the airline? Let us know what you think in the comment section.