Increased clarity around border openings in Australia has given overseas airlines the opportunity to set return dates, with a spate promising to return earlier than expected.
Australia’s overseas travel ban will lift on 1 November, with NSW and Victoria both promising to scrap quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated travellers from that date, and Tasmania joining them from 15 December.
Queensland will keep its quarantine requirements in place until 17 December, when international travellers who are fully vaccinated and have returned a negative test will be allowed to home quarantine. It will scrap quarantine for fully-vaccinated travellers once its vaccine rate reaches 90 per cent, most likely in early 2022.
Locally, Qantas has brought forward international flights from Melbourne in response to the state’s opening plan, with Melbourne to London flights kicking off from 6 November twice a week and Melbourne to Singapore resuming from 22 November with three services per week.
Both routes will increase their frequency to daily from 18 December.
The national carrier also recently brought forward its Sydney to London via Darwin route to 14 November.
Singapore Airlines will resume its daily flights between Singapore and Melbourne for eligible customers from 1 November 2021, with 14 flights to and from Singapore each week.
Cathay will also increase its Melbourne offering from the start of November, with flights between Melbourne and Hong Kong joining its Sydney route in returning to full capacity as soon as the international travel ban is lifted.
Currently, the airline is operating seven flights per week at limited capacity between Melbourne and Hong Kong, which will increase in passenger capacity and services from 1 November, with an additional two flights per week being added to the schedule taking the total weekly number to nine.
Thai Airways and Hawaiian Airlines announced their return to Australia, with flights between Sydney and Phuket resuming from 8 December and Sydney and Honolulu from 15 December.
Thai Airways plans to run its Sydney services every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, taking off at 9:30am and landing at 2:40pm. Return flights will take off at 6:50pm on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, landing in Syndey at 7:30am.
Hawaiian will operate its Sydney flights on Tuesdays and Thursdays through to Sunday at 9:40pm, landing in Hawaii at 10:35am. Return services will operate on Mondays and Wednesdays through Saturday, leaving Honolulu at 11:50am and arriving in Sydney at 7:45pm.
The initial opening will mainly be for returning Australians and their families or foreign nationals returning home, with international visitors expected to return to Australia early next year.
Featured image source: iStock/Ryan Fletcher