Qantas said some of its December foreign flights were already sold out, particularly to London and Los Angeles.
From November 14, the Flying Kangaroo will fly three weekly return flights between Sydney and London and three weekly return flights between Sydney and Los Angeles.
The airline says those are the two most-searched routes on its website recently.
If demand increases, the airline will add more flights.
Following the federal government’s statement that Australia’s foreign borders will open next month, Qantas has confirmed that international flights will resume on November 14.
Officials from the Australian government have yet to set a specific timeframe for reopening international borders.
Flights will be pushed forwards if “this date” occurs earlier than November 14, Qantas stated.
Customers booked on these inaugural flights can modify their travel dates “fee-free” until December 31, 2022. A refund or credit voucher may be issued if flights are cancelled.
On Qantas foreign flights, all passengers must be fully vaccinated with a TGA-approved or recognised vaccination and have a negative COVID-19 PCR test 72 hours before departure.
“The early reopening of Australia’s international borders will mean so much to so many people, and it’s made possible by the amazing ramp-up of the vaccine rollout,” Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said.
“We know Australians can’t wait to travel overseas and be reunited with their loved ones, and literally thousands are waiting to come back home, so this faster restart is fantastic news. It also means we can get more of our people back to work sooner.”
“We welcome the federal government’s decision and the work by the New South Wales government to facilitate the home quarantine approach that makes this feasible. We look forward to other states and territories getting on board.”
Joyce said the airline had already sold out of some of its international flights, slated for mid-December, and has seen “strong demand” for flights to London and LA, specifically.
“We’re confident there will be a lot of interest in these earlier services,” he said.
“We know frequent flyers have been stockpiling their points over the past 18 months to use on an overseas flight, so we’re making more seats available to be booked with points alone,” he added.
The move to a seven-day home quarantine for fully vaccinated Australians with a negative test is an excellent step towards a test and release programme, which is becoming more common internationally.
As of November, fully vaccinated citizens and residents will travel freely without hotel quarantine, according to PM Scott Morrison.
Those returning to the nation will be requested to quarantine for seven days once states reach 80% double-dose inoculation.
Several quarantine-free travel bubbles will be announced in the following weeks, allowing the country to welcome tourists for the first time in 18 months.
The long-awaited vaccine passport for overseas travel will also be released soon.
What we’re about to witness is the real deal. It appears that the guidelines for international travel have been established, and they are fair to travellers who have had the recommended vaccinations. Travel is making a comeback and judging by the fact that Qantas has already sold out the inaugural flights, Australians are keen to go travelling again.
For international airlines to begin selling tickets, the federal government needs to provide more certainty on the exact start date.
By Joe Cusman