Australia’s national carrier has made drastic changes to its operating schedule as the country’s border spat continues
Qantas on Monday announced that it is bringing forward the resumption date of popular flight paths by at least a month, after both the Victorian and New South Wales governments revealed their roadmaps out of lockdowns.
Flights between Victoria and New South Wales will now begin on November 5, earlier than the previous date of December 1. The change is based on Victoria’s reopening plan.
However, as previously flagged, Qantas will temporarily reroute its flagship Perth-London service until at least April 2022 due to border restrictions with Western Australia
Qantas says, internationally, flights are still on track to gradually restart from 18 December 2021 onwards when Australia is expected to have reached National Cabinet’s ‘Phase C’ vaccination threshold of 80 per cent. However, as previously flagged by the airline, Qantas will temporarily reroute its flagship Perth-London service until at least April 2022 due to the latest WA border settings and assumptions.
Qantas is in detailed discussions with the Northern Territory Government and Darwin Airport to assess operating the direct London flight from Darwin during this time
The national carrier has successfully used Darwin as a hub for its repatriation flights to various destinations across Europe, Asia and the Middle East over the past 12 months.
The discussions for what would be a daily Melbourne-Darwin-London service focus on the logistics of domestic and international transit under the current NT Government Plan for COVID-Management at Stage 3 of the National Plan. If this service can’t operate through Darwin, it will instead fly Melbourne-Singapore-London until at least April 2022. A decision on the exact routing is likely to be made within the next two weeks.
Qantas Group CEO, Alan Joyce, said: “It’s great to see plans firming up for some domestic borders opening given the success of the national vaccine rollout.
“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.”
“Get ready to see some emotional reunions at airports from late-October onwards.”
The intense discussions with WA
Qantas says: “Based on our discussions with Western Australia we know their borders won’t be open to New South Wales and Victoria until early next year, so we’ve sadly had to cancel the flying we had planned on those routes in the lead-up to Christmas. We will maintain a minimum service for people with permits to travel, though, as we have throughout the pandemic.”
“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.”
Should State or Federal roadmaps change, and flights are cancelled, customers may be eligible for a refund, credit voucher or to change the date of their travel
Further details are available on Qantas and Jetstar’s websites.
International flights remain subject to Government and Regulatory approval.
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