Qantas repositioning for December take off

Qantas’s first commercial international flights in almost two years are set to takeoff on December 18, to London, Los Angeles, Vancouver and Singapore.

The services will depart from Melbourne and Sydney, and in the case of the London flights go via either Perth or Singapore.

The next day, more destinations will come on line including Tokyo and Fiji, as well as flights from Brisbane to Singapore and Los Angeles.

Then on December 20, flights from Sydney to Honolulu will recommence potentially signalling a return to some semblance of normality for the travel industry.

So far New Zealand has been excluded from the list due to ongoing uncertainty about the resumption of the trans-Tasman travel bubble.

According to the Qantas booking site, seats remained available for most flights although in the case of Sydney-London on December 18, the cheapest fares had all been snapped up.

Travellers should expect to pay between $1600 and $2300 one way for London and LA services, and slightly less for the return legs.

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce has made it clear the airline would require passengers to be fully vaccinated as a condition of boarding international flights, and depending on the destination, travellers may also need evidence of a negative Covid test within 72-hours of takeoff.

All services are conditional on the federal government lifting the ban on overseas travel which was recently extended until December 17.

Mr Joyce remained hopeful flights would be able to resume a week before Christmas, in line with the government’s four-phase plan that linked border reopening to an 80 per cent vaccination rate.

Qantas recently indicated it was seeing enormous interest in the December flights with searches of those services tripling.

Hottest destinations included London, Los Angeles and Singapore from Sydney and Melbourne, as Covid-weary residents look to escape months of lockdown and restrictions.

Providing the flight schedule does resume as planned, Qantas was expecting to add Hong Kong to its destination list from February, followed by Bali, Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines and Johannesburg from April.

A number of other airlines have also begun scheduling commercial flights on Australian routes from December 18, including Fiji Airways and Air Canada.

It’s not known as yet what quarantine requirements will be imposed for fully vaccinated travellers from overseas or those returning to Australia.

Mr Joyce has indicated the continuation of mandatory hotel requirement would make the flights unviable but some form of home quarantine may be acceptable.

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