Sound the international travel klaxon: it could be back on by July.
Qantas has reopened ticket sales across its international networks from July 1, in a show of optimism that the vaccine rollout will restart international travel.
Flights to London and Los Angeles have been pulled forward from October to July 1, with both countries currently rolling out a COVID-19 vaccine.
However, flights to Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan have been pushed back to July 1. They were initially set to resume in March, but travel bubbles with those countries now seems very unlikely.
“We continue to review and update our international schedule in response to the developing COVID-19 situation,” the airline said in a statement.
“Recently we have aligned the selling of our international services to reflect our expectation that international travel will begin to restart from July 2021.”
Qantas boss Alan Joyce has previously said a ‘no jab, no fly’ rule will come into affect for quarantine-free travel, meaning a vaccine (or a strong medical reason for not getting one) will be needed to fly. (A huge ‘SUCK IT’ to Pete Evans and every dickhead spouting medical nonsense about vaccines. I hope you enjoy your 14 days of quarantine.)
“We are looking at changing our terms and conditions to say, for international travellers, that we will ask people to have a vaccination before they can get on the aircraft,” Joyce told A Current Affair in November.
“Whether you need that domestically, we will have to see what happens with COVID-19 in the market, but certainly, for international visitors coming out [to Australia] and people leaving the country, we think that is a necessity.”
Of course, London and Los Angeles might be the last places you’d want to travel to right now. The UK and the US are experiencing a surge in coronavirus cases, with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announcing a nation-wide lockdown until at least mid-February.
However, both countries have fast-tracked a vaccine. The UK is rolling out with both the Oxford-AstraZeneca and the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines, and the US is currently rolling out the Pfizer jab.
Australia is on track to roll out the vaccine in March, choosing to wait and see what happens in the US and the UK while we still have the outbreak under control.
International travel is one thing, but for the thousands of Aussies still stuck overseas, plus those of us with family overseas…. re-opening the international borders (safely) can’t come soon enough.