Australia, and specifically its national carrier, Qantas Airways, has shown an overabundance of caution when dealing with the coronavirus pandemic the last four months.
Now the airline is taking it a step further.
Qantas has canceled all international flights until March of 2021, a hiatus of more than seven months – the longest time period any carrier has announced an interruption of flights, according to The Daily Mail.
Even flights to nearby New Zealand are now unavailable until September 1. Previously, there had been discussion that the two countries could create their own bubble where travelers could go back and forth.
Qantas had originally canceled international flights through October.
A Qantas spokesman told The Daily Mail Australia “all international and sale flights have been removed from the website” until further notice due to the coronavirus pandemic.
He did not confirm whether flights to New Zealand would resume from September 1, just that they were able to be viewed on the Qantas website.
“There are some international flights in the system but they are not currently operating,” he said.
Travel isn’t completely closed to Australians, however. Flights to the United States, Asia and Europe will be available through partner airlines, including Delta, United, Emirates, British Airways and Cathay Pacific. The decision by Qantas is not a surprise; CEO Alan Joyce had said previously that he didn’t think international flights would resume until July 2021.
Trade Minister Simon Birmingham said last month that Australia’s borders were unlikely to reopen to international travelers until next year but would look to relax entry rules for students and other long-term visitors.
“We can simply work through the 14-day quarantine periods that have worked so well in terms of returning Australians to this country safely,” Birmingham said in a speech to the National Press Club.
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