Qantas has canceled all international flights until March of 2021. The airline removed the inventory for nearly all of its international flights until March of 2021, as the coronavirus pandemic continues to batter air travel.
The hiatus of more than seven months is the longest time period any carrier has announced an interruption of flights.
The Australian flagship carrier will only maintain a few flights to New Zealand, which are currently grounded until mid-August of this year.
Qantas had originally canceled international flights through October.
A Qantas spokesman told The Daily Mail Australia “all international and sale flights have been removed from the website” until further notice due to the coronavirus pandemic.
As it stands now Australians are banned from leaving the country until September 17th.
Exceptions are being made for aid workers, some other government and commercial workers, and people seeking to go overseas on compassionate grounds.
Flights to the United States, Asia and Europe are only available through partner airlines, including Delta, United, Emirates, British Airways and Cathay Pacific.
The decision by Qantas is not a surprise; CEO Alan Joyce had said previously that he didn’t think international flights would resume until July 2021.
The airline announced in June that it was retiring its six Boeing 747 planes immediately, six months before initially planned, and slashing 20% of its staff. It’s also grounded its fleet of double decker Airbus A380s — wide-body jets used for long haul travel — for the next three years.
Trade Minister Simon Birmingham said last month that Australia’s borders were unlikely to reopen to international travelers until next year but would look to relax entry rules for students and other long-term visitors.
“We can simply work through the 14-day quarantine periods that have worked so well in terms of returning Australians to this country safely,” Birmingham said in a speech to the National Press.