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Qantas and Jetstar shake up flight schedules in response to State reopening plans

If you’ve been itching to get back in the air and explore Australia’s beautiful landscapes or meet with distant friends and family, Qantas and Jetstar have some exciting news for you.

The Qantas Group have announced they are shaking up their flight schedules to align with the reopening plans and latest border assumptions.

In a big win for travelers, the much-anticipated date for travel between Victoria and New South Wales has been brought forward. Instead of waiting until December 1, 2021, as originally planned, the new start date is now November 5, 2021. This shift is based on Victoria’s reopening plan, which is surely music to the ears of those with loved ones across state lines.

Furthermore, Qantas is set to ramp up regional flights within New South Wales from October 25, 2021. Aligned with the State Government’s roadmap, they will boost service to around 40 per cent of pre-COVID levels. It’s a positive step forward as we navigate our way back to normalcy.

However, the news isn’t as rosy for those hoping to fly domestically between Western Australia and Victoria/New South Wales. The restart of these flights has been delayed by two months, now rescheduled for February 1, 2022. This decision is based on current border assumptions. In the meantime, Qantas will maintain five return flights a week between Perth and both Sydney and Melbourne for those with permits to travel.

As for flights between Western Australia, Tasmania, Northern Territory, and South Australia under Qantas or Jetstar, there are no changes at this time. Once border restrictions are lifted, flights between WA and Queensland are expected to increase, a move that’s eagerly anticipated in the coming weeks.

On the international front, flights are still slated to gradually restart from December 18, 2021, when Australia is projected to reach the National Cabinet’s ‘Phase C’ vaccination threshold of 80 per cent.

There is a temporary reroute, though: the flagship Perth-London service will be rerouted until at least April 2022 due to the latest Western Australia border settings.

Interestingly, Qantas is looking to Darwin as a potential hub for this direct London flight. The airline is currently in detailed discussions with the NT Government and Darwin Airport, especially considering its successful use of Darwin as a hub for repatriation flights to various destinations across Europe, Asia, and the Middle East over the past 12 months.

If this service can’t operate through Darwin, an alternate route via Singapore (Melbourne-Singapore-London) has been planned until at least April 2022.

An official decision on this route is expected in the next two weeks.

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