Qantas and Jetstar are bringing forward planned international flights to and from Sydney and have announced a new flight path with India as the Government confirms border openings.
The faster ramp-up follows the federal and New South Wales governments confirming international borders will reopen from 1 November 2021.
The NSW government has also decided to remove quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated arrivals. Qantas said this would significantly increase travel demand.
“This is the best news we’ve had in almost two years and it will make a massive difference to thousands of our people who finally get to fly again,” Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said.
“We know that Australians are keen to get overseas and see friends and family or have a long-awaited holiday, so bringing forward the restart of flights to these popular international destinations will give customers even more options to travel this summer.”
To meet demand, Qantas is also reinstating 11,000 stood-down employees - 5,000 linked to domestic flying routes and 6,000 linked to international flying.
Combined with operational and corporate employees already working, all of Qantas’ 22,000 employees are able to return to work in December, which wasn’t expected to happen until June 2022.
New international schedule revealed
Qantas plans to launch a new route from Sydney to Delhi on 6 December 2021 with three return flights per week, building to daily flights by year’s end.
The updated international schedule includes:
Sydney to Singapore: Qantas flights will resume on 23 November 2021, four weeks earlier than scheduled. Jetstar will fly from Melbourne and Darwin to Singapore from 16 December 2021.
Sydney to Fiji (Nadi): Qantas flights will be brought forward to 7 December 2021 from 19 December 2021. Four return flights a week will be operating. Jetstar flights to Fiji will resume on 17 December 2021.
Sydney to Johannesburg: Qantas flights will resume on 5 January 2022, three months earlier than scheduled.
Sydney to Bangkok: Qantas flights will resume on 14 January 2022, more than two months earlier than scheduled.
Sydney to Phuket: Jetstar flights will resume on 12 January 2022, more than two months earlier than scheduled.
Today’s announcement is in addition to routes already on sale from Sydney to London and Los Angeles.
Flights to Honolulu, Vancouver, Tokyo and New Zealand are still scheduled to commence from mid-December 2021, with other destinations to restart in the new year.
In line with all the Federal Government’s current requirements, initial flights are limited to Australian citizens, permanent residents and their immediate families and parents.
Domestic flights update
Qantas and Jetstar are preparing to ramp up capacity between Melbourne and Sydney as quarantine-free travel is set to resume between Australia’s two largest cities.
Pre-COVID, Melbourne-Sydney was the second busiest route in the world, with Qantas and Jetstar operating up to 58 return services per day, but during the latest lockdowns this got down to as low as one return flight per day for essential travel only.
When the Victorian and NSW borders open, Qantas and Jetstar will operate up to 18 return flights per day, increasing to up to 37 return flights per day by Christmas.
Additional capacity will be added on other routes to and from Sydney and Melbourne, as restrictions are lifted by other states and territories.