Qantas Airways Ltd. began taking bookings for international flights from July 1 in a perhaps optimistic opinion that by then vaccinations will have started to curb the spread of the coronavirus and demand for travel will increase.
Ticket sales for Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore, which were due to start in March, have been pushed back to July, while other destinations like London have been postponed from October, the Australian national carrier said on Tuesday. New Zealand is the only overseas destination Qantas currently flies to.
“Recently, we have aligned the sale of our international services to reflect our expectation that international travel will resume from July 2021,” Qantas said. “We continue to review and update our international calendar in response to the evolving COVID-19 situation.”
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Although countries like Singapore, China, Israel, the United States and the United Kingdom have started vaccinating their populations, Australia has not yet authorized a COVID vaccine and is not considering offering an injection. before March. The country canceled development of a local vaccine last month after trials showed it could interfere with HIV diagnoses.
Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said a vaccine will be needed for non-quarantine travel to resume in the US and UK, where infections are on the rise. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered athird national lockoutin England from Monday night through mid-February, fearing the National Health Service could be overwhelmed.
An urge to travel among Australians has meant Qantas has been busy on the home front. In December, Qantas said it expectedstealthe vast majority of its normal domestic program in the first quarter after the reopening of major state borders. By June, the airline is expected to generate enough cash to begin repairing its balance sheet.
Authorities at least appear to be at the top of controlling virus clusters in Australia’s two most populous states, with New South Wales recording four new locally acquired cases the day before on Tuesday, while Victoria had three.
Still, New South Wales officials are concerned after an 18-year-old Sydney man tested positive after traveling to areas of the outback including Broken Hill on a camping trip . Test clinics are being set up in the remote towns he visited.
To date, the Australian government has banned citizens from leaving the country unless they receive an exemption, which may include business travel, as part of the fight against the coronavirus or on compassionate grounds.
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