Can Australians get overseas by Christmas? The bold plan to have the entire nation’s population vaccinated by 80 per cent isn’t the only roadblock keeping Australians grounded
- Major Australian airline Qantas is hopeful some international flights before Christmas
- Fate lies on National Cabinet’s target of 80 per cent of the Australia’s population vaccinated by the end of the year
- Qantas CEO Alan Joyce has flagged quarantine requirements as one of the biggest unknowns for the aviation sector
Home for Christmas?
At the beginning of the pandemic last year, the hope was borders to open by Christmas 2020. Although optimistic, this reality is now likely one year on.
Despite the harsh lockdowns across the country to contain the delta outbreak of covid-19, Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said Australia’s rapid vaccination rollout would make international holiday travel possible again for the first time in almost two years.
In a media conference, Joyce said he understands the delta variant is difficult to manage but the first step is vaccinating airline crew and the entire Australian population, in line with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s national strategy.
2,000 Qantas frontline staff including cabin crew, pilots and airport workers will have until November 15 to get jabbed, while the 20,0000 remaining workers have until March 31 next year.
“It’s obviously up to government exactly how and when our international borders re-open, but with Australia on track to meet the 80 per cent trigger agreed by National Cabinet by the end of the year, we need to plan ahead for what is a complex restart process,” Mr Joyce said.
Joyce said international travel may seem a long way off, but the airline will remain optimistic despite the ongoing change of circumstances.
What could stop this?
The writing is on ‘Phase C’ of the federal government’s path to pandemic normality.
Joyce flagged that one of the biggest unknowns hangs around quarantine requirements, that vary from state to state in Australia for domestic travel at the moment.
In a media conference, Joyce mentioned the possibility of home isolation as a viable option once international travel off the ground.
Australians have been banned from travelling overseas for a holiday since March 2020, when the pandemic began.
Joyce said there is good dialogue between Qantas and the federal government, and ongoing discussions will continue.
Qantas is assuming that current domestic border closures will remain in place until early December, and there is no decision yet if domestic passengers must be vaccinated like international passengers.
“It would be shame to visit relatives in London before relatives in Perth”Joyce said
Where can I travel?
Joyce says Qantas is hopeful travel demand will spike once borders reopen, and has put forward a plan to layout initial routes.
Qantas said the initial routes being planned for high vaccination destinations include Singapore, the United States, Japan, United Kingdom and Canada.
The airline expects the New Zealand travel bubble will resume in some form by mid-December.
Passengers can expect a restart on flights to Hong Kong in February and the rest of the Qantas and Jetstar international network from April next year.
Flights to low vaccination cities like in Asia and South Africa with high Covid-19 case numbers would not restart until at least April 2022 as well.
Those destinations include Bali, Jakarta, Manila, Bangkok, Phuket, Ho Chi Minh City and Johannesburg.
Qantas has plans to bring back five of its A380 Airbus super jumbos earlier than expected, in 2022
However the hope from Qantas is market recovery by 2024.
Reports of discrimination against pregnant and disabled workers at Amazon
Amazon is under fire for allegedly discriminating against some of its pregnant workers and workers with disabilities
New York’s Division of Human Rights filed a complaint against the company with Governor Kathy Hochul announcing the move on Wednesday.
Amazon is being accused of failing to provide these workers with the correct pay, forcing them to take unpaid leaves of absence.
There are multiple reports that the company did not follow guidelines with its workers, one pregnant worker was initially given approval to avoid lifting packages over 11 kilograms, but was then made to lift heavy items anyway by a manager.
Amazon did not provide this worker with accommodation after they were injured and instead placed them on indefinite unpaid leave, according to the complaint.
The company is being examined for its failure to accommodate these workers, and allowing managers to override safety recommendations.
Such actions are against breach New York’s Human Rights Law which protects pregnant and disabled workers from discrimination within a workplace.
Amazon is now being urged to “pay civil fines and penalties to the State of New York” and to fix its discriminatory practices.
Amazon’s spokesperson has denied its wrongful conduct saying the company offers “the best available options to accomodate” such employees.
New York man sues McDonalds for burgers not looking like photos on ads
Those late night McDonalds ads with the crispy lettuce and soft bun, makes the mouth water…. but one New York man has beef to pick
The man says McDonalds and Wendy’s have misleading adverts that are unfair and deceptive.
He says make their burgers look much bigger than they actually are.
In a proposed class-action lawsuit, he is seeking $50 million in damages for himself and other similarly duped customers.
The chains did not comment immediately on the suit.
Rival Burger King was hit with a similar lawsuit in Florida in March, by the same law firms representing New Yorker Justin Chimienti.
While Burger King has yet to respond in court, an amended complaint shows that more unhappy customers have signed onto the suit.
According to complaints quoted in the BBC, the companies’ adverts are “unfair and financially damaging consumers as they are receiving food that is much lower in value than what is being promised.”
The “actions are especially concerning now that inflation, food, and meat prices are very high and many consumers, especially lower income consumers, are struggling financially,” they add.
U.S. stocks plunge – markets have biggest daily drop in 2 years
U.S. markets have had their biggest daily drop in almost two years, as investors evaluate the impacts of higher prices on earnings and the possibility of monetary policy tightening
The S&P 500 dropped by 4 per cent, while the Nasdaq fell the most amongst other major benchmarks.
Meanwhile, retailer Target down was down more than 20 points in its worst performance since 1987, and Apple and Amazon.com both slid.
The U.S. dollar rose against all Group-of-10 counterparts, except the yen and Swiss franc.
The S&P is slowly emerging from its longest slump since 2011, but rebounds are fragile amid tightening policy, the war in Ukraine and lockdowns in China.
It comes as Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell warns U.S. central bank will raise interest rates until there is “clear and convincing” evidence inflation is in retreat.
Looking to other parts of the world, and Europe saw new-vehicle sales shrink for a 10th month in a row.
Over in the United Kingdom, inflation rose to its highest level since Margaret Thatcher’s reign 40 years ago.
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