Staggered international border reopening could favour NSW residents

NSW residents could be the first Australians to benefit from a resumption of international travel, after Prime Minister Scott Morrison conceded that some states’ international borders could reopen without national buy-in.

On Friday, when asked whether he could envisage a situation where some states had their international border open while others did not, said: “Yes I can”.

The Prime Minister’s concession follows a push from Sydney-based Liberal MPs including Jason Falinski, Trent Zimmerman and Dave Sharma for NSW residents to not be forced to wait for vaccination rates to increase in other states before international borders reopen.

Last week, Qantas flagged a plan to restart flights to “COVID-safe” destinations – potentially Japan, Britain and the US – from mid-December. Other companies, such as travel agency business Flight Centre, also held out ambitions that Australia could be opening up by then.

“When Australia reaches those critical vaccination targets later this year and the likelihood of future lockdowns and border closures reduces, we expect to see a surge in domestic travel demand and a gradual return of international travel,” said Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce.

But Australians are unlikely to be heading to favoured destinations such as Bali and Phuket any time soon.

The airline does not expect to fly to destinations like Indonesia and Thailand until next April, when vaccination rates are higher.

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