Qantas has brought forward international flights to London and Los Angeles by nearly three weeks, with flights to these cities now taking off on 1 November.
This means, in a fortnight from now, fully vaccinated Sydney travellers will be able to leave the country for the first time since borders closed in March last year.
Qantas’ announcement comes after the Federal Government and NSW Government announced that international borders would reopen on 1 November for NSW residents and their immediate family.
"We are opening Sydney and New South Wales to the world, and that date will come in on November 1st,” said NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet on Friday.
Later that afternoon, Prime Minister Scott Morrison clarified that the new quarantine rules were applicable only to returning Australians, vaccinated residents and citizens, and their immediate family, and not to visa holders like international students or visitors.
Passengers will only be allowed to travel if they have been fully vaccinated and can return a negative COVID-19 test 72 hours before departure.
In light of NSW and the Prime Minister’s announcements, Qantas has outlined an updated travel schedule, which comes just a few days after Virgin also announced it was bringing forward some travel dates.
WATCH BELOW: Sydney to scrap vaccinated travellers' quarantine
“Bringing forward the reopening of Australia to the world and removing quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated travellers entering New South Wales is a massive step towards life as we knew it,” said Qantas CEO Alan Joyce.
“It will still be a long time before international travel returns to normal but this is a fantastic start.”
Here are Qantas and Virgin’s latest travel schedules:
Note that these flights are only for Australian citizens, permanent residents, their immediate families and parents, Qantas noted in a statement.
The rest of Qantas’ travel schedule remains unchanged so far:
18 December 2021
Melbourne-Singapore (approx. $1,400 return)
19 December 2021
Sydney-Tokyo (approx. $1,900 return)
However, there’s reason to hope that more destinations will be added to the list soon.
“In light of the shift to remove quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated travellers arriving in New South Wales, the Qantas Group is looking at bringing forward some additional destinations from Sydney if possible.”
Meanwhile, Flying Kangaroo flights to Bali, Jakarta, Bangkok, Manila and Johannesburg are scheduled to resume from late March 2022.
Originally scheduled for 23 November, Virgin flights to Fiji’s city of Nadi will now lift off from 16 December for Sydneysiders.
Here’s what the schedule looks like:
Sydney-Nadi: 16 December
Melbourne-Nadi: 17 December
Brisbane-Nadi: 18 December
27 March 2022
Melbourne-Denpasar (approx. $710 return, lite fare)
What are other airlines doing?
Jetstar Asia recently announced Aussies can fly from Darwin to Singapore from 20 December.
Melbourne-Singapore services will also start from 19 December.
American Airlines will take passengers between Sydney to LA from 4 January 2022.
More to come.
Did we miss anything? If you know something we don’t, drop a line to firstname.lastname@example.org.