The Federal and New South Wales governments recently confirmed that international borders would reopen from 1 November 2021, and the NSW Government said it would remove quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated arrivals. As a result, Qantas and Jetstar announced they will bring forward the restart of more international flights to popular destinations from Sydney and operate regular flights to Delhi, India.
Due to extended border closures, many of Qantas international crew have been stood down since the start of the pandemic. The decisions to resume international travel combined with plans by states and territories to reopen domestic borders will see the group’s 22,000 employees able to return to work in December, which wasn’t expected to happen until June 2022.
The updated international schedule published on Friday, detailed plans to restart flights from Sydney to several destinations including Singapore, Fiji, Johannesburg, Bangkok and Phuket.
Qantas also plans to launch a new route from Sydney to Delhi on 6 December 2021 with three return flights per week with its A330 aircraft, building to daily flights by end of the year, subject to discussions with Indian authorities. Flights from Sydney to Delhi would operate via Darwin, while flights from Delhi to Sydney would operate nonstop. The new destination represents the first commercial flights for Qantas between Australia and India in almost a decade.
The national carrier will also bring back two of its Airbus A380 aircraft earlier than planned and is in discussions with Boeing about accelerating the delivery of three brand new 787 Dreamliners, which have been in storage for most of the pandemic.
Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said: “Our people are getting back to work much earlier than we expected. This is the best news we’ve had in almost two years. So bringing forward the restart of flights to these popular international destinations will give customers even more options to travel this summer. In recent weeks, sales on international flights to and from Sydney have outstripped sales on domestic flights, which shows how important certainty is to people when making travel plans.”