Australia’s flag carrier, Qantas Airways Ltd., has reportedly laid out an ambitious plan for resuming nearly all international flights from late October. The company believes that the rollout of vaccines will help in reviving the shattered travel industry at the global level.
According to Qantas CEO, Alan Joyce, the vaccine rollout changes everything and as the vaccine launch is already underway, the company is on the right track.
The carrier reportedly intends to restart 22 of its 25 overseas routes to cities comprising London, Los Angeles, and Johannesburg beginning from 31st October. The company’s low-cost arm, Jetstar, is also set to recommence all its 13 international routes at the same time.
As per reliable sources, the previous hopes of the industry for a vaccine-inspired travel recovery were dashed in late 2020. This is because the emergence of super-infectious variants of coronavirus had led to stricter quarantines for passengers. So far, the proposal of the aviation industry for the replacement of mandatory isolations with vaccine or test certificates has not received broad traction with governments.
It is to be noted that, similar to airlines across the globe, Qantas’s attempts for flying even finite schedules have been repeatedly hampered by snap border closures, both in Australia as well as other countries. The revenue losses of the airline due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 were nearly AUD 11 billion, which is more than half of its usual annual sales, added Joyce.
On this note, Qantas has planned a ‘material increase’ in flights in the Australia-New Zealand travel corridor beginning from July 2021. However, the airline requires the Australian government to entirely open its international border before it can freely fly offshore. While the preliminary capacity on overseas flights in the month of October will be limited, an entire international recovery is not anticipated until 2024, added Qantas.
As per the company, the domestic network of the airline should reach 60 per cent of its capacity in this quarter and almost 80 per cent in the coming three months.