Qantas and Jetstar have updated their flying schedules in response to the reopening plans and latest border assumptions in Victoria, New South Wales and Western Australia.

The key domestic changes are:

  • bringing forward the reopening date for travel between Victoria and New South Wales from 1 December to 5 November 2021, based on Victoria’s reopening plan
  • significantly increasing regional flying within New South Wales from 25 October 2021, in line with the State Government’s roadmap, to around 40 per cent of pre-COVID levels
  • delaying the restart of domestic flying between Western Australia and Victoria / New South Wales by two months to 1 February 2022, based on border assumptions.

Qantas will continue to operate five return flights a week between Perth and both Sydney and Melbourne to maintain minimum connections for those with permits to travel.

There is no change to Qantas or Jetstar flights between WA, Tasmania, Northern Territory and South Australia. Flights between WA and Queensland will increase once border restrictions are removed, hopefully in coming weeks.

Internationally, flights are still on track to gradually restart from 18 December 2021, when Australia is expected to have reached National Cabinet’s ‘Phase C’ vaccination threshold of 80 per cent.

However, Qantas will temporarily reroute its flagship Perth-London service via either Darwin or Singapore until at least April 2022 due to WA border closures.

Darwin is the preferred option for a daily Melbourne-Darwin-London service, and Qantas is in detailed discussions with the NT Government and Darwin Airport. The airline has successfully used Darwin as a hub for its 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, it will instead fly Melbourne-Singapore-London. A decision on the exact routing is likely to be made within the next two weeks.

Qantas Group CEO, Alan Joyce, said: “It’s great to see plans firming up for some domestic borders opening given the success of the national vaccine rollout.”

“Get ready to see some emotional reunions at airports from late-October onwards,” he added.

Mr Joyce also expressed hope that seven-day home quarantine will become the norm for arrivals from low-risk countries given Australia is on track to have one of the highest vaccination rates in the world.

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