Vaccinated Australian citizens and permanent residents, as well as their immediate families (including their parents), will be able to fly in and out of Sydney aboard Qantas from Monday, November 1.
The airline brought its restart date forward from November 14 on the back of the New South Wales state government’s announcement that vaccinated residents no longer need to undertake hotel quarantine from November.
However, international tourists will have to wait longer to take an uncapped flight and will also have to go into quarantine.
London and Los Angeles-bound flights from Sydney are expected to be among the first international routes, while flights to Singapore, Fiji and Vancouver are expected to start on December 18.
Alan Joyce, chief executive, Qantas, said: “Bringing forward the reopening of Australia to the world and removing quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated travellers entering New South Wales is a massive step towards life as we knew it. In just a little over two weeks, Australians around the world can fly into Sydney and people from around Australia can leave on trips they’ve been waiting almost two years to take.
“We have thousands of pilots and cabin crew wanting to get back to work and they will be thrilled at today’s announcement. It will still be a long time before international travel returns to normal but this is a fantastic start.”
Travellers will still need to take a Covid-19 test before boarding and upon landing back in NSW.
While NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet said of the decision to scrap hotel quarantine: “[It] is a big one, but the right one. We need to rejoin the world. We can’t live here in a hermit kingdom. We want people back”, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison urged caution, saying: “We are not opening up to everyone coming back to Australia at the moment. I want to be clear about that. In the first instance it will be for Australian residents and their families. We will see how that goes.”