Qantas postpones the restart date on some international routes

Qantas will accelerate the resumption of flights between Sydney and destinations including Singapore, Bangkok and Johannesburg as NSW prepares to become the first state to reopen for international travel on November 1.

The airline said Friday morning that the reopening of national and international borders in the coming months means all 11,000 workers left on hold will return to work in December – which was not expected until next June.

“Australians rolling up their sleeves means our planes and our people are getting back to work much earlier than expected,” said Qantas CEO Alan Joyce at a Sydney airport press conference with Prime Minister Scott Morrison and NSW Prime Minister Dominic Perrottet.

“This is the best news we’ve had in almost two years, and it will make a huge difference to the thousands of our people who will finally be able to fly again.”

Qantas had flights from Sydney to New York and London scheduled from November 1, and on Friday said it would launch flights from Sydney to Fiji from December 7 (previously December 19); to Johannesburg on January 5 (previously March); Bangkok on January 14 (earlier March) and Jetstar flight to Phuket on January 12 (more than two months earlier).

Qantas also announced that it will launch a new connection to New Delhi on December 6 – the first time in almost a decade that the airline will fly to the Indian capital.

Other destinations such as Japan, Canada and New Zealand will resume from December 18 to 19.

Foreign airlines are also gearing up to reopen Australia’s international border. Cathay Pacific will operate full pre-COVID capacity, spanning 10 return flights between Sydney and Hong Kong per week from November 1, while Singapore Airlines has opened bookings for 17 weekly flights from Sydney.

Mr Joyce said Mr Perrottet’s unexpected decision to lift all quarantine requirements for vaccinated Australians was critical to resuming international travel faster.

Victoria intends to follow in the footsteps of NSW and will no longer require Australians to isolate themselves when they return home.

“Sales of international flights to and from Sydney have surpassed sales of domestic flights in recent weeks, demonstrating how important it is for people to be confident when planning a trip,” Joyce said.

Anticipating a faster recovery in travel demand, Qantas announced that from April 2022 it will be taking two Airbus A380s from deep storage in the Mojave Desert to serve flights to Los Angeles from April 2022. Another three will return to service from November 2022, and the remaining five will return in early 2024.

Qantas intended to leave its superjumbo in stock until the end of 2023, and in August said five would return from mid-2022.

The airline said it will look at the delivery of three new Boeing 787 Dreamliners that have been in storage since the start of the pandemic.

See also: “You cannot board in this”: An incorrect mask could result in you being blocked for flight

See also: Singapore Airlines is bringing the superjumbo back to its Australian tour

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