Qantas has cancelled most of its flights scheduled from Western Australia to Victoria and NSW over summer and will bypass Perth on its non-stop flights to London because of the state’s reluctance to reopen its border.
The airline said on Monday it would reroute its direct Perth-London flights until at least April 2022 and instead operate a daily Melbourne-Darwin-London service from December, when it expects the Morrison government to reopen the international border.
Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said that based on discussions with the WA government, it had pushed back the resumption of normal domestic flying from the state to Victoria and NSW from December 1 to February 1.
“We know their borders won’t be open to New South Wales and Victoria until early next year, so we’ve sadly had to cancel the flying we had planned on those routes in the lead-up to Christmas,” Mr Joyce said.
“We will maintain a minimum service for people with permits to travel, though, as we have throughout the pandemic.”
Qantas said it had not changed its schedule for flights from WA to Tasmania, Northern Territory and South Australia, and that it hoped to increase services to Queensland in the coming weeks pending border restrictions easing.
The airline said that it was in discussions with the NT government and Darwin Airport about how to operate its non-stop flights through Darwin. If that is not possible, flight from Melbourne on its Boeing 787 Dreamliners will stop in Singapore en route to London, it said.
Meanwhile, domestic flights between Victoria and NSW will ramp up earlier than anticipated, with Qantas restarting regular flights between the two states from on November 5, rather than December 5, based on Victorian premier Daniel Andrew’s reopening plan released last weekend.
Qantas intends to restart international flights to UK, the US, Japan, Singapore, Canada and Fiji from December 18 and 19, however, the Morrison government is yet to say whether Australians will be alowed out of the country by then.
Mr Joyce said the “key factor” in determining demand for international travel will be what quarantine requirements will be in place for Australians returning home.
“The seven day home quarantine trial in New South Wales is a great step forward and we’re hoping the system evolves quickly for vaccinated travellers from low-risk countries to not have to quarantine on arrival,” he said.
This story originally appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald. Read the original story here.