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Will Qantas return to London before Perth?



They are strange times we live in, when Australia’s national carrier could soon return to London before flying Sydney to Perth.

Project Sunrise has been hailed as the holy grail for Qantas. 230 years since the first fleet set sail on a months long voyage, modern aviation has linked far flung corners of the globe.

Qantas set out a challenge to Boeing and Airbus to deliver an ultra long-haul jet capable of linking the east coast of Australia, namely Sydney and Melbourne, to New York or London. Hopefully with a good entertainment system to boot.

Project Sunrise route map
Project Sunrise route map from Australia’s east coast.

Project Sunrise setback

In May, Qantas announced that Sydney would be the first city to launch Project Sunrise.

At the investor briefing, after announcing a $2.3 billion loss, attention quickly turned to when Qantas might restart international flights.

Right now, m Australia is locked up, with Western Australia becoming the hermit kingdom, completely separated from Sydney and Melbourne.

While Qantas chief Alan Joyce fumed at the domestic border closures, it could be the airline’s international arm that drags the Qantas group back to profitability.

Throughout the pandemic, New South Wales has been the anti-lockdown state, preferring to focus on keeping business humming and reluctantly heading into lockdown.

New South Wales residents are fast on their way to receiving 6 million vaccination jabs, seemingly hungry to reopen despite the rise in cases to above 1000 per day for the first time during the pandemic.

It’s the same strategy used by the UK, and requires a leader who can hold their ground despite rising case numbers.

In Australia, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian is the closest you can get to the British PM.

A Qantas 787 Dreamliner
A Qantas 787 Dreamliner

Freedom day

And just like the UK, may look to a freedom day whereby restrictions are dropped once the population hits the 80% vaccination mark. NSW is among the fastest in the world to take up the vaccine in recent weeks.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has already flagged the possibility of COVID passports once vaccines reach 80%.

How it works

The IATA Travel Pass provides:

  • Governments with the means to verify the authenticity of tests or vaccinations and the identity of those presenting their certificates.
  • Airlines with the ability to provide accurate information to their passengers on test requirements and verify that a passenger meets the requirements for travel.
  • Laboratories with the means to issue certificates to passengers that will be recognized by governments, and
  • Travelers with accurate information on test requirements, where they can get tested or vaccinated, and the means to securely convey the results/certificates to airlines and border authorities

That could see Qantas almost do the unthinkable opening up travel from Australia to London before internal borders are open.

A sign of how far Australia has come, or how far it has to go.

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