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Qantas cancels all international services until end-October

The Australian carrier is also set to mothball all its A380s.

Qantas has extended the suspension of all international flights until 24 Oct 2020, excluding services to New Zealand.

Flights to New Zealand has also been provisionally cancelled until end of June, although New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has earlier said that September was a more “realistic” timeframe for Trans-Tasman travel to resume.

An internal note sent to employees by Qantas International CEO, Tino La Spina, also said that most staff engaging with international operations will continued to stood down until then.

The international cancellations has already been reflected on Qantas’ website. Qantas is currently also not operating any international repatriation services nor charter flights.

All Qantas A380s grounded; half of fleet tipped to go into long-term storage

Executive Traveller earlier this week reported that Qantas is expecting its entire flagship Airbus A380 fleet will be grounded for a while.

Qantas A380 at Los Angeles International Airport

The A380s typically serve high traffic, slots-constraint air corridors, including Sydney-London via Singapore, as well as Sydney-Los Angeles and Sydney-Dallas Fort Worth.

Qantas has earlier said in April that its A380 upgrade programme was still on track, but later reversed its position in May, saying that it will be pausing the upgrades as it reviews its fleet.

Qantas Group chief executive Alan Joyce has said several times in the past months that the global demand for air travel will take years to recover and hence the airline has is undertaking the review to reshape the airline’s future around a post-Covid-19 travel landscape.

For now, all 12 A380s that Qantas has under its fold will be stored, with six that are yet to be refurbished likely to be sent for long-term storage at California’s Mojave Desert, according to Executive Traveller.

Qantas has not committed to whether it will return all 12 A380s to flying in the future, but if the fleet is indeed reduced, the six refurbished aircraft will be the first to take to the skies.

Australia will probably not admit leisure travellers until 2021

Australia’s trade minister Simon Birmingham has said earlier this week that the country is unlikely to reopen its border to international travellers until 2021. However, it’s looking at how it can to relax entry rules for students and other long-term visitors.

What does it mean for Singapore?

Simply put: don’t expect to step foot onto a Qantas flight, nor into a Qantas lounge in Singapore anytime this year.

Qantas Singapore First Lounge, opened in late 2019

While many are hopeful for another trip this year, given how countries has now started implementing laborious requirements including mandatory quarantine and pre- and post-travel tests, leisure travel just doesn’t seem anywhere near.

As such, it’s unlikely that Qantas will send the A380s back into Singapore any time soon, nor continue its fifth-freedom service to London from Singapore. If at all, Qantas will likely serve Singapore as an end-destination with smaller aircraft such as the Airbus A330s and the Dreamliner Boeing 787-9s.

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