Flights to the US and UK could be closer than you think due to the success of their vaccine rollouts.
Qantas CEO Alan Joyce has predicted travel bubbles with those countries could come sooner rather than later while he spoke about the importance of Australia’s own vaccine rollout.
“We know the path to get international open is really the vaccine. It’s our passport to get international travel going again,” Joyce said.
Qantas welcomed back many customers when it was able to resume flights between Australia and New Zealand and Joyce said he expects the bubble will be extended to the Pacific Islands including Fiji and Vanuatu, soon.
Flight crews operating from the Pacific Islands into Australia are not required to go into 14-day quarantine so long as they return a negative COVID-19 test before the flight.
Now Joyce said the US and UK will likely follow.
“With the great progress that’s been made in the US and the UK, you may see those markets opening up before the rest because the vaccine rollout has been so successful in both countries,” he told Nine’s Today show on Monday.
“We’re still talking to the government about it, we’re still planning to be ready (to fly long-haul internationally) at the end of this calendar year.”
Preparations and planning for international travel are ongoing, but Joyce said both aircraft and crew are ready to take to the skies.
Joyce said the most important step in the journey is the “landing” and while state and federal governments have done well, the battle against COVID is not over yet.
“To land the aircraft successfully, we have to roll out the vaccination program successfully. We have to have a clear plan for opening up the borders,” he said.
“We have to give confidence to people to travel again.”
Joyce has been pushing for Aussies to get the jab with Qantas even offering rewards in the form of free flights to those who get vaccinated.