Qantas delays resumption of international flying after budget blow

Qantas has pushed back the restart date for most of its international network after the federal budget revealed Australia’s border will likely remain shut until the middle of next year.

In the latest blow to its overseas flying plans, Australia’s largest airline said on Tuesday it would cancel most of its international flights scheduled from the end of October through to late December.

Qantas has again delayed the restart of its international network.

Flights to New Zealand under the recently opened trans-Tasman travel bubble are unchanged, it said.

“We remain optimistic that additional bubbles will open once Australia’s vaccine rollout is complete to countries who, by then, are in a similar position, but it’s difficult to predict which ones at this stage,” a Qantas spokesman said in a statement.

“We will keep reviewing these plans as we move towards December and circumstances evolve.”

In January, Qantas was selling tickets to most of its international network from July 1, but in February pushed that back to October as delays to Australia’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout emerged.

In Tuesday’s federal budget, the government said inbound and outbound international travel would remain low until the middle of 2022, followed by “a gradual recovery in international tourism”.

“The rate of international arrivals will continue to be constrained by state and territory quarantine caps over 2021 and the first half of 2022, with the exception of passengers from safe travel zones,” the budget states.

More to come

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