Qantas Airways Expects to Restart International Flights in late December 2021, with its first Sydney-LAX flight schedule on December 18, 2021, the day after December 17, when Australia's international travel ban is due to expire. If the currently planned flights materialize, it would be a bit earlier than our prediction (see Why Australia, New Zealand Won't Open Until 2022). Don't expect to fly Qantas First Class, however; these flights will be on a 787-9, with business class, premium economy and economy, but no first class.
The planned restart of international flights will, of course, be subject to the government's decisions about reopening Australia's closed borders. Australia has set a goal of 80 percent of adults being fully vaccinated before international borders can reopen. Currently just over 30 percent of adults are fully vaccinated.
Qantas plans to restart flights to countries with high vaccination rates, such as Singapore (which recently achieved 80 percent vaccination), the UK (~78 percent of those 16+ are fully vaccinated), and the U.S. (61 percent of those 12+ are fully vaccinated). While Qantas would also like to resume flights to New Zealand in late 2021, that seems unlikely from the New Zealand-side, given New Zealand's continued zero Covid strategy.
Flights to destinations with lower vaccination rates such as Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippines wouldn't start before April 2022, and likely later.
For those hoping to fly Qantas First Class on the A380, expect to wait until mid-2022; currently the first Qantas A380 to the U.S. is scheduled on July 1, 2022 (QF11). Qantas plans to return 5 of its 12 A380s to the skies in mid-2022 for flights to the U.S. and the U.K. 2 of the 12 A380s will be retired permanently, however.
Currently Sydney, Australia is under a lockdown exacerbated by the Delta variant, and certain parts of the city with increasing case numbers have been prioritized for additional Pfizer vaccine doses.
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