Qantas flags hope to fly Aussies overseas before the end of the year.
Travel may be back on the cards earlier than predicted, with Qantas today announcing it planned to restart its international flights by October.
The company international flights would return from October 31.
Last year it indicated the hope to restart the flights in July.
No two-way travel bubbles have yet been established between Australia and other countries.
A deal with New Zealand has been delayed in the wake of Australia closing the border to NZ on numerous occasions in the past months.
Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said the October timeframe was put in place “in line with the date for Australia’s vaccine rollout to be effectively complete”.
“We’re still targeting July for a material increase in New Zealand flights,” he said.
“We’re in close consultation with government, and if things change, so will our dates.
“But with the vaccine rollout already underway, we’re on the right track.”
It comes after epidemiologists earlier this month signalled they could not see travel returning in 2021.
International flying capacity is at about 8 per cent of its pre-pandemic levels.
Mr Joyce admitted dates could change based on vaccine effectiveness in preventing transmission.
“The federal government wants to see a few things happening before they can make a firm date happen with international borders, like the transmission effectiveness of the vaccine,” he said.
“We are confident there should be a good case for reopening in October, (when) the population will be fully vaccinated.”
He said the return of international travel as seen before COVID-19 was not expected before 2024.
Further Perth news on SoPerth.com.au.