In a move that signals that brighter times are around the corner, Australia’s national carrier Qantas has put tickets to international destinations on sale from July 1st. Qantas is Australia’s most popular airline, and the decision to offer tickets in the middle of the pandemic has started a conversation surrounding travel in the country.
With international travel options around the world severely limited at the moment, it has offered hope to travelers who are itching to get back out there and see the world. Here’s more about the move, the reaction it’s sparked and the Covid-19 situation in the country.
Qantas Open For Business – Information Travelers Should Know
Despite the majority of its fleet being grounded for months due to the pandemic, Qantas made headlines this week when it announced that it was allowing would-be travelers to book international flights from July 1st.
Customers are now able to visit the Qantas website and book flights to far-away destinations, such as London and Los Angeles. However, they are able to do so without a guarantee that the borders for the UK or the United States will be open to international tourists.
At present, international travel to and from Australia has been scarce. Qantas has been keeping busy running domestic services and running repatriation flights for Australians abroad, visiting destinations such as Frankfurt, London and Chennai in the past week alone. At present, the only international flight that Qantas is flying to is New Zealand, and it remains to be seen if the planned flights to London and Los Angeles will get the go-ahead.
How The Decision Has Been Received
Given the current situation around the world, with the pandemic shutting down the majority of international borders and the spread of the virus worsening in many parts of the world, Qantas’ decision has caused controversy in Australia.
Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Transport Minister Michael McCormack spoke against the decision, saying that decisions about when international travel will resume will only be made by the Australian government, labelling Qantas’ decision as purely commercial. Neil Hansford, chairman of Strategic Airlines Solutions, said the decision to sell flights to the UK and the US was optimistic, with countries such as Japan, Singapore, and South Korea more likely destination for Australians in 2021.
Qantas said that the decision to start offering tickets for international routes was based on projections of the vaccines being rolled out, and the impact that they would have on travel. A spokesperson said that Qantas has “aligned the selling of our international services to reflect our expectation that international travel will begin to restart from July 2021”, and that the schedule would be reviewed and updated depending on the Covid-19 situation. In the event that the flights don’t go ahead, Qantas has confirmed that flights can be refunded or rebooked.
Covid-19 In Australia
July and August were tough times for Australia, with their daily case record of 721 coming on July 30th. Since then however, strong lockdowns had a strong effect on the spread of the virus and Australia has reported much lower figures, with only 144 cases reported in the past week. The country has entered into a travel corridor with New Zealand, seeing flights from New Zealand departing for Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane without the need for quarantine.
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories