Qantas has pushed back its planned restart of international flights to the end of the year, based on a newly revised Covid-19 vaccine rollout timeline from the Australian government, the carrier has announced.
The carrier now expects to resume international service in late December, when the government anticipates it will have completed the country's vaccine rollout. Qantas previously was targeting late October to resume the service. The government now plans the larger reopening of Australia's borders in mid-2022, but Qantas plans to "take advantage of pockets of tourism and trade opportunity as they emerge" in the meantime, according to a statement from the carrier.
"We remain optimistic that additional bubbles will open once Australia's vaccine rollout is complete to countries who, by then, are in a similar position, but it's difficult to predict which ones at this stage," according to the statement.
Qantas is contacting travellers who had already booked international travel for dates from 31 October to 19 December, though the carrier noted there have been very few such bookings due to "recent levels of uncertainty." The delay does not affect services to New Zealand, which is covered under a trans-Tasman travel bubble that will continue to operate despite a recent temporary pause in travel from Sydney.