Qantas is ready to resume overseas flights in mid-December 2021 based on the pace of Australian’s vaccination rollout, but…. will it actually happen?
In Qantas’ full year results announcement today, the Australian airline also outlined its plans for international services when Australia gradually reopen borders, which would be triggered when the Australian national vaccination rate surpasses its designated 80% threshold.
The airline said that its plan remains dependent on Government decisions in the coming months, “including future quarantine requirements.”
Qantas to first restart services to countries with high vaccination rates, including Singapore
When Qantas’ international flights take to the skies again, they will not restart the entire network, but instead choose a small group of destinations with high vaccination rates.
These destinations include US, UK and Singapore, among others.
Key markets like the UK, North America and parts of Asia “have high and increasing levels of vaccination”, the airline says.
“This makes them highly likely to be classed as low risk countries for vaccinated travellers to visit and return from under reduced quarantine requirements, pending decisions by the Australian Government and entry policies of other countries.”
Specific to Singapore, these are Qantas’ plans:
From mid-December 2021, flights would start from Australia to COVID-safe destinations, which are likely to include Singapore, the United States, Japan, United Kingdom and Canada using Boeing 787s, Airbus A330s, and 737s and A320s for services to Fiji.
From late 2022, five A380s will return to service and will resume its Sydney-London service via Singapore from November 2022.
Qantas has loaded flights to Australia from 18 December onwards, and it seems like the full suite of flights are available for sale.
|Route||Flight No.||Days of op||Dep||Arr||Flight Time||Aircraft|
|Singapore – Sydney||QF2||Daily||1915||0610(+1)||7h 55m||B787-9|
|Sydney – Singapore||QF1||Daily||1700||2205||8h 5m||B787-9|
|Singapore – Melbourne||QF36||Daily||1940||0600 / 0610||7h 20m / |
|Melbourne – Singapore||QF35||Daily||1210||1705||7h 55m||A330-300|
|Singapore – Brisbane||QF52||Daily||2010||0555 / 0600||7h 45m / |
|Brisbane – Singapore||QF51||Daily||1150||1750||8h||A330-300|
|Singapore – Perth||QF72||Daily||1915||0030(+1)||5h 15m||A330-200|
|Perth – Singapore||QF71||Daily||1220||1745||5h 25m||A330-200|
|Singapore – London||QF1||Daily||2355||0615||14h 20m||B787-9|
|London- Singapore||QF2||Daily||2035||1745(+1)||13h 10m||B787-9|
No first class across Qantas network until 2022, Premium Economy only to London and Sydney for now
With the schedules above, you will see that the QF1/2 service between Sydney and London via Singapore will be operated using a Boeing 787-9. This effectively means that there will be no first class service across the Qantas network at least until late 2022, as the cabin is only found exclusively on the A380s which is targeted to return to service only in November 2022 (not 2021!).
Based on currently published schedules, the Qantas Dreamliner Boeing 787-9s will only be available on services to and from Sydney and London, on flight numbers QF1 and QF2.
For those who are hoping to jump into the Qantas A380 first class suites, you will unfortunately have to wait until late 2022 to taste it – if everything goes well.
Qantas has been trying its best to put out good news with respect to international travel since last year, but mostly to no avail as the Australian government continues to battle Covid-19 within its own borders. The country has also taken a very conservative border control approach, including limiting number of arrivals daily – even for its own citizens.
This is undoubtedly yet another try in putting out some semblance of ‘the light at the end of the tunnel’, but I would caution on over-optimism until the Australian government makes their own announcement on relaxation of border controls.
Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce has this to say: “It’s obviously up to government exactly how and when our international borders re-open, but with Australia on track to meet the 80 per cent trigger agreed by National Cabinet by the end of the year, we need to plan ahead for what is a complex restart process,
“There’s a lot of work that needs to happen, including training for our people and carefully bringing aircraft back into service. We’re also working to integrate the IATA travel pass into our systems to help our customers prove their vaccine status and cross borders.
“We can adjust our plans if the circumstances change, which we’ve already had to do several times during this pandemic. Some people might say we’re being too optimistic, but based on the pace of the vaccine rollout, this is within reach and we want to make sure we’re ready,” added Mr Joyce.
Qantas has earlier in January said that it was targeting to resume flights from 1 July, which didn’t happen as the Delta variant saw a larger wave of infections across the world. Most of Australia persisted in extended lockdowns, and domestic travel was also mostly curtailed.