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Qantas cancels all international flights bar one country

Qantas has culled all international flights until October except for flights to New Zealand. Image: Getty

Qantas has cancelled all international flights until late October except for some flights to New Zealand, the airline confirmed on Thursday. 

"With Australia's borders set to remain closed for some time, we have cancelled most international flights until late October," a Qantas spokesperson told AAP.

“We still have some flights scheduled across the Tasman in the coming months, with the expected travel bubble between Australia and New Zealand.

"Should travel between Australia and other countries open up and demand returns, we can add more flights back into our schedule."

It comes after Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham said Australia’s borders likely wouldn’t reopen until 2021 and encouraged Australians to holiday within the country. 

Qantas and subsidiary Jetstar will boost domestic flying over June and July as domestic travel restrictions begin to ease. The additional services along the Melbourne-Sydney routes and to-and-from Canberra routes will help lift flights from 5 per cent of pre-coronavirus levels to 15 per cent of pre-coronavirus levels. 

“We know there is a lot of pent up demand for air travel and we are already seeing a big increase in customers booking and planning flights in the weeks and months ahead,” Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said in early June.

“We can quickly ramp up flying in time for the July school holidays if border restrictions have eased more by then. Normally, we plan our capacity months in advance, but in the current climate we need to be flexible to respond to changing restrictions and demand levels.

“The one million people who work in tourism around Australia have been really hurting over the past few months. These additional flights are an important first step to help get more people out into communities that rely on tourism and bring a much-needed boost to local businesses.”

Qantas itself is one of the major companies affected by the coronavirus fallout, and has been forced to stand down 20,000 workers. However, Joyce said the company can survive until December 2021 without flying.

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