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Can Australians really expect to travel overseas by Christmas?

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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

Qantas staff talk to passengers onboard a flight bound for Auckland on April 19.
  • 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.

“Some people might say we’re being too optimistic, but based on the pace of the vaccine rollout, this is within reach and we want to make sure we’re ready.”

Joyce said.

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.

Business

Why Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport will cap passenger departures

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Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport is capping the number of departures until next year

The airport says airlines “are not happy about it” but ultimately had no choice.

It follows a string of airport chaos over the busy summer period in The Netherlands and Europe more broadly.

Caps are expected to extend through the end of March. But authorities will review the situation again towards the end of this year.

The aviation business continues to be plagued by labor shortages on the back of the pandemic.

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Business

Food delivery drone crashes into powerlines

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Thousands of people have been left without power after a food delivery drone crashed into powerlines

Power was restored after 45 minutes after the drone made a pre-cautionary landing.

‘Wing’ is the company behind the incident who use drones for their food delivery services.

A spokesperson for Energex, the company who supplies power to the 300-affected homes says drones can be dangerous.

It’s believed these instances are very rare and the meal was still hot when emergency crews arrived at the scene.

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Business

Huge win for millions caught up in Optus data breach

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Major news for those impacted by the Optus data incident, with authorities working around the clock to get to the bottom of the saga

Is this a sigh of relief for Optus customers?

It is a major win for those who have been impacted by the massive Optus data breach.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has confirmed the telco giant will cover the costs of replacing affected customers’ passports, a move he has labeled as entirely appropriate.

The hacker released the personal details of more than 10,000 people on an online forum, before removing the post.

This is evidently a costly move for Optus, but one which many Australians have been calling for.

On the other side of the coin, it will also be a massive undertaking for the nation’s passport office which has been slammed recently as Aussies head back overseas post-Covid.

This comes as the Australian Federal Police launches an operation to support the data breach victims.

AFP Assistant Commissioner Justine Gough says affected customers will receive “multi-layered protection from identity crime and financial fraud”.

As the investigation continues, Australian authorities will also be leaning on their international counterparts for assistance, including America’s FBI.

It’s a massive operation and one that many Australians and indeed people right around the world are watching closely.

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