After reporting a loss of $1.03 billion that put the airline’s workers at risk of losing jobs, Qantas Airways pushed the restart of international travel to October 2021.
On February 25, 2021, Australia’s biggest carrier announced it suffered a half-yearly net loss of $1.03 billion. While many domestic routes in Australia are slowly recovering, the international travel is still highly restricted. The airline announced that the date of international travel restarting is being pushed to October 2021 from the previously planned July 2021.
“More certainty that domestic borders can stay open because frontline and quarantine workers will be vaccinated in a matter of weeks,” said Joyce. “And more certainty that international borders can open when the nationwide rollout is effectively complete by the end of October.”
According to Qantas CEO Alan Joyce, around 7500 international flight workers are at “prime risk” of losing their jobs as the opening of the borders gets postponed.
“The prime issue is going to be around 7500 people that are fully dedicated to international — they will have no work,” said Joyce. “Through no fault of theirs, (these workers) are going to be without the income that they built their lives on for a period of time without those borders opening up.”
Qantas aims to have restored 60% of pre-COVID domestic capacity by September and 80% by the end of 2021. The major Australian airlines, Qantas, Virgin Australia, and Rex Airlines, are currently battling for customers on the domestic routes. To compete with other airlines, Qantas had dropped prices on Sydney-Melbourne route and introduced a “Fly Flexible” policy that permits travelers to have unlimited flight changes until January 2022.
Earlier in 2020, Qantas CEO Alan Joyce announced plans to make vaccination against COVID-19 mandatory for international air travelers once the vaccine was widely available, saying that such measurements would be a necessity if the air travel wanted to reach pre-COVID conditions.
Currently, Qantas is serving limited international flights, mainly to repatriate Australian citizens stuck overseas during the COVID-19 pandemic. The only travellers allowed to Australia are those who have been in New Zealand for more than 14 days, according to Australia’s Department of Health.