Qantas pushes back international flights until end of the year

Australian borders have been largely shut since March 2020

<p>Qantas won’t fly abroad until December</p>

Qantas won’t fly abroad until December

Qantas has pushed back the restart date for international flights until December at the earliest, as Covid travel restrictions continue to bite.

Australia’s national airline had previously hoped to start flying overseas from late October.

Australian borders have been largely shut to foreigners since March 2020, with all arrivals having to quarantine in hotels for two weeks.

The Australian government has predicted that international travel to the rest of the world will remain at low levels until the middle of next year thanks to a sluggish vaccine roll-out.

Vaccines won’t be widely available in the country until the end of this year, it said.

While Australians are free to fly domestically, the only place they can fly overseas is New Zealand.

The Trans-Tasman bubble, linking Australia and New Zealand, has been open since 19 April. It allows residents of both countries to travel freely between the two nations without quarantine or testing.

“We will keep reviewing these plans as we move towards December and circumstances evolve,” Qantas said in a statement.

In a ploy to spur domestic tourism, Qantas has launched a number of “one-off” flights. The latest is a sightseeing flight to see the supermoon at the end of May, with passengers promised “cosmic cocktails and supermoon cakes” onboard.

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