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London for Christmas: Qantas boss Joyce's plan to restart overseas travel

Business

Australians could be travelling to the UK and America by Christmas and Bali as early as April under plans revealed today by Qantas.

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The airline today released another timeline for when international travel will return as it also posted a massive pre-tax loss of $2.3 billion for the year. Its lost revenue from COVID was now about $16 billion and likely to exceed $20 billion by the end of the year.

Chief executive Alan Joyce said it was clear the rest of the world was opening up and Australia now had a plan for re-opening and that meant Qantas had dusted off its plans for restarting international travel.

“We expect flight to countries with high vaccine rates to resume from mid-December 2021 onwards. That includes Singapore, Japan, the US, the UK and hopefully New Zealand,” Joyce said.

“Flights to places with lower vaccination rates will restart from April 2022 at the earliest _ like Bali, Jakarta, Manila and Johannesburg.”

However, there was still the issue of returning travellers to Australia and whether they would have to quarantine for 14 days or not.

“If it’s 14 days in a hotel, demand levels will be very low. A shorter period with additional testing and the option to isolate at home will see a lot more people travel,” he said.

He said the return to international flying was still dependent on Government decisions.

The likely restart means Qantas will bring five of its A380s out of mothballs, a year ahead of schedule to conduct the US and UK flights.

“These were key markets for Qantas before COVID and given how well they have recovered we expect travel demand on these routes to be strong enough for the A380,” Joyce said.

Qantas said it had managed to beat its own expectations in reducing costs and had so far delivered $650 million in savings.

And despite border closures, 95 per cent of its domestic flying was cash positive.

“When we have been able to fly, we’ve maintained a domestic market share of around 70 per cent across Qantas and Jetstar. Strategically, our position has never been clearer or stronger.”

 

 

 

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