Singapore, Bangkok and Johannesburg: Qantas brings forward restart date to some international routes

Qantas will bring forward the restart of flights between Sydney and destinations including Singapore, Bangkok and Johannesburg as NSW prepares to become the first state to reopen for international travel on November 1.

The airline said on Friday morning that the reopening of state and international borders in the coming months meant all 11,000 employees who remain stood down would be back at work in December - something not expected until June next year.

“Australians rolling up their sleeves means our planes and our people are getting back to work much earlier than we expected,” Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said at a press conference at Sydney Airport with prime minister Scott Morrison and NSW premier Dominic Perrottet.

“This is the best news we’ve had in almost two years and it will make a massive difference to thousands of our people who finally get to fly again.”

Qantas had flights from Sydney to New York and London scheduled from November 1, and on Friday said it would launch flights from Sydney to Fiji from December 7 (previously December 19); to Johannesburg on January 5 (previously March); Bangkok on January 14 (previously March) and Jetstar flight to Phuket on January 12 (more than two months earlier).

Qantas also said it would launch a new service to New Delhi on December 6 - the first time the airline has flown to the Indian capital in almost a decade.

Other destinations such as Japan, Canada and New Zealand are set to resume from December 18 or 19.

Foreign airlines are also preparing for Australia to reopen its international border. Cathay Pacific will operate a full pre-COVID capacity of 10 return flights between Sydney and Hong Kong per week from November 1, while Singapore Airlines has opened bookings for 17 weekly flights out of Sydney.

Mr Joyce said Mr Perrottet’s surprise decision to lift all quarantine requirements for vaccinated Australians was crucial in restarting international travel sooner.

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Victoria is set to follow NSW’s lead and no longer require Australians to isolate when they return to the country.

“In recent weeks, sales on international flights to and from Sydney have outstripped sales on domestic flights, which shows how important certainty is to people when making travel plans,” Mr Joyce said.

Anticipating a faster recovery in travel demand, Qantas said it will bring two of its Airbus A380s out of deep storage in the Mojave Desert to operate on flights to Los Angeles from April 2022. Another three will return to service from November 2022, and the remaining five will return in early 2024.

Qantas had intended to leave its superjumbos in storage until the end of 2023, and in August said five would return from mid-2022.

The airline said it would look at bringing forward delivery of three new Boeing 787 Dreamliners which have been in storage since the start of the pandemic.

See also: 'You can't board wearing that': The wrong mask could see you banned from your flight

See also: Singapore Airlines brings back superjumbo to Australian route

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