Qantas Airways (QF) has canceled all international flight schedule, apart from flights to and from New Zealand, until October 24 2020.
The announcement came after the Australia Trade Minister, Simon Birmingham, revealed that the country’s borders will remain closed until further notice. To curtail the spread of Covid-19. This would be in line with the cut-off to the Northern Winter 2020 flight schedule, as defined by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
Mr Birmingham said that the decision to shut the country’s border was one of the main reasons Australia had been successful in fighting the spread of Covid-19 and it would not be reopened any time soon for general travel.
“I do sadly think that in terms of open tourist-related travel in or out of Australia, that remains quite some distance off,” he told the National Press Club.
When asked whether that would mean the border would remain closed until next year, Mr Birmingham said, “I think that is more likely the case”.
This is a huge blow to Qantas (QF), who are already reported to lose AU$150b this year. Grounding their fleet for an extended period of time will cost the airline heavily, so keeping their domestic and trans-tasman schedule alive is very important from a business point of view.
Qantas keeping their scheduled flights to New Zealand comes as no surprise. It is widely rumored that Australia will be the first country that New Zealand will open its borders to, in a trans-Tasman travel bubble, eliminating the need for a 14-day quarantine.
Australia closed its borders early on in the pandemic, but QF continued flying a limited schedule, mainly bringing Australian holidaymakers back home and returning stranded holidaymakers from Australia back to their home countries, all whilst transporting cargo at the same time.