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Qantas brings international flights to the UK and the US, push back Asian countries

Qantas has brought forward overseas ticket sales by two months amid expectations global touring will reopen sooner than required.The airline earlier suspended flights to the United Kingdom and the United States until October but has carried forward the date to July 1, as the composition of a COVID-19 vaccine grades up.

Approx, $1.6 million of Federal Government funding, has been awarded to a Melbourne-based trial of a COVID-19 vaccine. And also for plans to operate out, little amounts of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine in Australia in March are still in position.

Yesterday, the UK administered the world’s initial shots of COVID-19 vaccine produced by pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca and Oxford University, while the US approved the use of Pfizer’s vaccine previously last month. At its annual AGM in October, Qantas head Alan Joyce said it was unlikely international flights to the UK and the US would start before the end of the year 2021.

Mr Joyce said last year, “For some of our great destinations such as the UK and the United States, it’s going to require a COVID-19 vaccine given the high prevalence of the virus in both of the locations.”

However, Australia’s flights to main Asian destinations such as Japan, Singapore, and Hong Kong have been pushed back from March to July 1 for creating safe travel bubbles. A spokesperson of Qantas said “the airline’s international schedule was continuing to be informed and updated “in response to the developing coronavirus situation.”

The spokesperson said, “presently we have joined the selling of our overseas services to match our expectation that international travel will drive to restart from July 2021.”

“This is constant with everything we said last December in our trading update, that we do not believe at this time there will be any material foreign flying up till the end of June 2021.”

Qantas has been operating limited international flights to assist the Federal Government with repatriating Australians stuck abroad during the COVID-19 pandemic. Border limitations have led to staff cuts at the carrier, with approximately 8,500 job losses declared so far. Outbreaks of the coronavirus within Australia’s boundaries have also checked the airline’s capacity to expand its domestic market.

Unfortunately, Qantas Group had a loss of $2 billion in 2019-20 financial years and a drop of 21 per cent in full-year revenue.