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COVID-19: Qantas updates flying plans for Australian border reopening plans

COVID-19: Qantas updates flying plans for Australian border reopening plans

OK, this is big-ish. Qantas is confirming its plans for re-opening Victoria/New South Wales routes, upping regional frequencies in NSW, and delaying the resumption of domestic flights between the east and west coast (Perth).

Here are the key changes as outlined in the Qantas Media Release:

  • Bringing forward the reopening date for travel between Victoria and New South Wales from 1 December to 5 November 2021, based on Victoria’s reopening plan.
  • Significantly increasing regional flying within New South Wales from 25 October 2021, in line with the State Government’s roadmap, to around 40 per cent of pre-COVID levels.
  • Delaying the restart of domestic flying between Western Australia and Victoria / New South Wales by two months to 1 February 2022, based on border assumptions.
Pizza at the Qantas Perth Lounge

Perth/Western Australia

There will still be 5 return Jetstar flights between Perth, and both Sydney and Melbourne to allow permit holders to travel.

Connections between other states and western Australia will remain as they currently are, with a possible increase in Queensland to WA flights.

“We’re now planning to ramp up flying between Melbourne and Sydney, which is usually the second busiest air route in the world, almost a month earlier than expected.  There are also a lot of regional destinations that will open up for the first time since June, which is great news for tourism as well as family and friends who can’t wait to see each other again.

Qantas Group CEO, Alan Joyce

International

Still expected to restart on 18 December 2021, but the Perth-London service will be rerouted via Singapore or Darwin, at least until April 2022, based on WA’s border closures. Singapore is already used for QF1, and Darwin has been used as a hub for the repatriation flights Qantas has been funded to fly by the Australian Government. Plans are afoot for a daily Melbourne-Darwin-London flight, depending on agreement by the NT government for COVID management.

If that all falls in a hole, then it will be re-routed via Singapore.

“At this stage, WA doesn’t intend to open to international travel until sometime next year, so we’ll unfortunately have to temporarily move our Perth-London service until at least April 2022. Instead of operating from Melbourne to Perth and then on to London as it usually does, this flight will operate from Melbourne to London via either Darwin or Singapore, depending on conversations we’re having with the NT in the coming weeks. We look forward to operating this flight via Perth again when circumstances allow.

Qantas Group CEO, Alan Joyce
Alan Joyce Qantas CEO

2PAXfly Takeout

All good news, but don’t rely on this as gospel. All things could change depending on border openings; both Australia to the world and interstate borders.

I will be champing at the bit on this, but at the moment I’m steering clear of the race to travel internationally. Partly, because prices are gonna be high, but also because, there’s still a pandemic out there.

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