Qantas and Jetstar will kick start international passenger flights to most destinations from 31 October 2021.
It’s a four month delay from the previous estimate of July, which had been in place since mid-2020. The new date is in line with when Australia expects to finish its vaccine rollout.
Due to COVID-19-related travel restrictions, Qantas cut nearly 30% of its workforce in 2020 and grounded the bulk of its fleet.
Qantas said it currently has 14,500 full-time equivalent roles that will come back to work but the airline still has 11,000 staff stood down on JobKeeper, the ABC reports.
Australia’s national carrier will resume flights to 22 of its 25 pre-COVID international destinations including Los Angeles, London, Singapore and Johannesburg. International capacity is not expected to fully recover until 2024.
New York, Santiago and Osaka are missing from the list but passengers can get to these destinations “under codeshare or oneworld arrangements with partner airlines.”
Qantas posted a $1.03 billion pretax underlying loss for the first half due to state border closures and international travel restrictions associated with the coronavirus pandemic.
Qantas’s chief executive, Alan Joyce, has been flagging this right throughout last year and earlier this year because of the impact of border restrictions.
The underlying loss before tax in the six months ended December 31, the airline’s most closely watched financial measure, compared with a $771 million profit a year earlier.
On a bottom line level, Qantas swung to a $1.47 billion loss from a profit of $648 million the prior year.
With additional files from Reuters.