Three return flights a week will be operated by 787 aircraft, parent company Qantas said in an announcement issued today (Oct 22). Jetstar itself has yet to announce the news.
The move comes as Qantas and Jetstar bring forward the restart of more international flights to popular destinations from Sydney and prepare to relaunch regular flights to Delhi, the first commercial flights for Qantas between Australia and India in almost a decade.
The national carrier will also bring back two of its Airbus A380 aircraft earlier than planned and is in discussions with Boeing about accelerating the delivery of three brand-new 787 Dreamliners, which have been in storage for most of the pandemic.
The faster ramp up follows the Australian Federal Government and the New South Wales government confirming that international borders would reopen from Nov 1 and the decision by the NSW Government to remove quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated arrivals – which significantly increases travel demand.
“These decisions – combined with plans by states and territories to reopen domestic borders – support all Qantas and Jetstar workers based in Australia and New Zealand who are currently stood down to return to work by early December 2021. This includes around 5,000 employees linked to domestic flying and around 6,000 linked to international flying,” the airline said in its release today.
“Due to extended border closures, many international crew have been stood down since the start of the pandemic. Combined with operational and corporate employees already working, the Group’s 22,000 employees are able to return to work in December, which wasn’t expected to happen until June 2022,” it added.
International schedule update
Qantas plans to launch a new route from Sydney to Delhi on 6 December 2021 with three return flights per week with its A330 aircraft, building to daily flights by end of the year.
“This is subject to discussions with Indian authorities to finalise necessary approvals. The flights would initially operate until at least late March 2022, with a view to continuing if there is sufficient demand. Flights from Sydney to Delhi would operate via Darwin, while flights from Delhi to Sydney would operate nonstop,” the airline noted.
Other international services to resume include Sydney to Singapore Qantas flights to begin Nov 23, four weeks earlier than scheduled, operating three days per week with A330 aircraft. Services will ramp up to daily from Dec 18. Jetstar will fly from Melbourne and Darwin to Singapore from Dec 16.
Sydney to Fiji Qantas flights will be brought forward to Dec 7. Jetstar flights to Fiji will resume on Dec 17. Within 48 hours of Fiji announcing its reopening, Jetstar saw a 200% increase in sales versus pre-COVID levels, selling more fares than a typical seven day period, the announcement noted.
Discussions are underway with the Indonesian Government about welcoming fully vaccinated Australians back to Bali with reduced or no quarantine requirements, which would mean the resumption of Jetstar and Qantas flights from Sydney to the holiday island months earlier than scheduled, the airline also noted.
In line with current Federal Government requirements, these initial flights are limited to Australian citizens, permanent residents and their immediate families and parents.
Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said, “Australians rolling up their sleeves means our planes and our people are getting back to work much earlier than we expected.
“This is the best news we’ve had in almost two years and it will make a massive difference to thousands of our people who finally get to fly again.
“We know that Australians are keen to get overseas and see friends and family or have a long awaited holiday, so bringing forward the restart of flights to these popular international destinations will give customers even more options to travel this summer.
“We’ve said for months that the key factor in ramping up international flying would be the quarantine requirement. The decision by the NSW Government to join many cities from around the world by removing quarantine for fully vaccinated travellers means we’re able to add these flights from Sydney much earlier than we would have otherwise.
“We hope that as vaccination rates in other states and territories increase, we’ll be able to restart more international flights out of their capital cities. In the meantime, Sydney is our gateway to the rest of the world.
“In recent weeks, sales on international flights to and from Sydney have outstripped sales on domestic flights, which shows how important certainty is to people when making travel plans.
“While these flights will initially be for Australians and their families, we expect tourists from Singapore, South Africa and India to take advantage of these flights once borders reopen to international visitors, which is great news for the industry,” he said.
All passengers on Qantas and Jetstar international flights (aged 12 years and older) will be required to be fully vaccinated with a TGA-approved vaccine (unless they have an exemption).
As part of Australian Federal Government requirements, passengers on these flights will also be required to return a negative COVID test from an approved PCR testing site within 72 hours of departure.
The NSW Government will shortly advise details on additional testing requirements for arrivals.
Customers are advised to check government requirements for the destination they are travelling to, the announcement concluded.