Qantas chief says flights are expected to come back online next year.
The good news of COVID-19 vaccines like Pfizer – which is reporting a 90 per cent effectiveness rate – is fanning hopes that international travel could be back on the cards next year.
See Also: Australia Gears Up For COVID-19 vaccine
Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said he was optimistic international travel would resume next year.
“We have always believed the possibility of that between nations and the way we are going in Australia, we could open early in the New Year which is a massive new market for everybody,” he said on Sunrise.
When will international travel from Australia be available?
“As the vaccine rolls out around the world and Australia, they should be the opening up of borders and we have always planned from July of next year, we will start reactivating a lot of our international aircraft and getting a lot more people back to work, and that still looks like the plan.”
He said he was “confident” in the early New Year that the airline’s schedule could get back to 100 per cent of pre-COVID levels.
Just 44 COVID-19 cases have been transmitted on aircrafts, since the pandemic broke out.
Mr Joyce said Australians were already packing into domestic flights, demonstrating their willingness for air travel in the wake of the pandemic, and Qantas was taking necessary precautions to manage the risks.
“We have hospital-grade filters that filter out COVID-19,” he said on the Today Show.
“The air is taken out 20 times and that is five times an hour. Boeing have showed that they are sitting next to somebody in an aircraft is the equivalent of being seven to eight feet on the ground apart from somebody. There has been very low cases.”
It comes as Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham said it was “not impossible” for travel to resume next year.
But he warned the resumption of international travel in early 2021 would be “challenging”.
The Federal Government’s National Vaccination Policy signals proof of vaccination could be used as an entry condition for tourists and some visa holders to enter Australia in coming years.
Start building your travel to do list with Travel Inspiration on SoWhereNext.com.au.
More Perth News on SoPerth.com.au.