Qantas has once again brought forward the re-launch of its international network. Instead of December, it has now said that international services will resume on November 14. This is in line with the announcement by the federal government that borders will open from this date.
International services include three weekly flights between Sydney and London and also between Sydney and Los Angeles. Whereas the London services used a stop-over in Singapore before the pandemic, Qantas will now use Darwin until December 18. After that, Singapore will be back on the schedule of QF1/2.
Immediately after announcing the news, bookings surged and the first flights were sold out. Only passengers who are fully vaccinated with a recognized vaccine are eligible for the flights. In addition, they will need a negative PCR test not older than 72 hours before the flight. When they return to Australia, they need to take a seven-day quarantine.
Qantas had initially planned to resume international services from December 18. This was already earlier than expected, as the original strategy of the Australian government was to open the country only from the summer of 2022. International flights scheduled from December 18 will continue as planned, with more likely to be added to the network. The carrier will rely on its fleet of Boeing 787s to operate the services but has said recently that it plans to de-storage six Airbus A380s until next summer. Two A380s will be phased out, leaving a fleet of ten double-deckers that will all have the updated interior.
As Western Australia’s borders are expected to remain closed until April, Qantas is unable to resume the Perth-London services until then. It has now planned to reroute them through Darwin, from where it can offer good connections to Europe and Asia.
Qantas’ and Jetstar’s domestic service will also benefit from an earlier than planned re-opening of the borders of New South Wales and Victoria. Instead of December 1, borders are now open from November 5. Regional flying in NSW will restart on October 25, but Western Australia remains closed until February 1. The carrier will continue to operate five weekly flights between Perth and Sydney/Melbourne.
Active as a journalist since 1987, with a background in newspapers, magazines, and a regional news station, Richard has been covering commercial aviation on a freelance basis since late 2016.
In 2022, he has gone full-time freelance. Richard has been contributing to AirInsight since December 2018. He is also writing for Airliner World and Aviation News and until July 1 2023 in a part-time role with Dutch website and magazine Luchtvaartnieuws. Twitter: @rschuur_aero.