December 18 is set to be a big day for travel from Australia, with Qantas planning to resume six international routes on that date, with a further five the next day.
Qantas plans to restart flights to several of its most popular destinations, based on the belief that the federal government will relax border restrictions before Christmas.
Flights to the UK, the US, Japan and Singapore are all on the cards.
The full list of routes for December are:
- Sydney-London (December 18)
- Melbourne-London (December 18)
- Sydney-Los Angeles (December 18)
- Melbourne-Los Angeles (December 19)
- Brisbane-Los Angeles (December 19)
- Sydney-Honolulu (December 20)
- Sydney-Vancouver (December 18)
- Sydney-Singapore (December 18)
- Melbourne-Singapore (December 18)
- Brisbane-Singapore (December 19)
- Sydney-Tokyo (December 19)
- Sydney-Fiji (December 19)
International flights from Perth are noticeably absent, after chief executive Mr Alan Joyce criticised states that were planning to keep borders closed even after vaccination targets were reached.
"Unfortunately I think there's one or two states that are taking a more conservative view on that, and departing from the national plan. We might get into a situation where from Sydney you can visit your relatives in London, maybe Dublin, but you can't visit your relatives in Perth, or maybe Cairns," he told a business conference last week.
However, two routes from Brisbane, to Los Angeles and Singapore, are scheduled to begin on December 19.
The restart of international flights will remain dependent on the federal government relaxing border restrictions based on vaccination rates. Mr Joyce said last week that national borders should open up once vaccination rates hit 80 per cent.
"We also should be starting to opening up internationally, and we open up to the markets that have the same level of vaccination with Australia at that stage. And that should be markets like the UK, North America, Canada is already up to those levels, Japan, Singapore, Fiji. We bounced it off the government and they have said publicly we think that's a sensible plan. We think that could be achieved by Christmas if the states keep to the national plan."
Qantas will mostly fly a combination of Airbus A330s and Boeing 787 Dreamliners on the routes. It's largest aircraft, the Airbus A380 superjumbos, remain stored in California's Mojave desert.
However, the airline has announced plans to bring the A380s back into service earlier than expected, starting from July next year. Mr Joyce previously said he did not expect the A380s to start flying again until 2023.
Air Canada has also announced plans to resume its Sydney-Vancouver route from December 17. Passengers looking to enter Canada must be vaccinated against COVID-19. Mr Joyce has repeatedly stated that Qantas passengers for international flights will also need to be vaccinated, though an official policy is yet to be revealed.
Meanwhile, Singapore Airlines has cancelled dozens of flights to Australia over the coming months, citing uncertainty around government passenger caps and border restrictions.