Predictions of when international flights may resume/bans lifted

Lynda2475

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ABC reports:

The federal government has removed the need for fully vaccinated Australians to ask for permission to leave the country from Monday 1 Nov.
  • Australian citizens and permanent residents who want to travel overseas will need to provide proof that they are fully vaccinated with a TGA-approved or recognised vaccine
  • The second dose will need to occur at least seven days prior to travel
  • The changes will also facilitate travel by children under 12 years of age
As for those who have not been vaccinated, they will still have to apply to leave the country and say why they want to travel. They will also be subject to passenger caps when they return to Australia and undertake 14 days in hotel quarantine.
 
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Any word on when DFAT Smart Traveller country assessments will be updated? I'm interested to know if any countries will still be rated as "Do not travel" for Covid reasons (as that affects travel insurance typically).
 

mviy

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Well one would guess they’ll update those by November 1, so my guess would be either Friday or perhaps they can schedule an update to happen Sunday night?
 
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Ric

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VIRGIN AUSTRALIA's annoucement

My name is Nick Rohrlach and I’m honoured and excited to be the new CEO of Velocity Frequent Flyer.

While it’s been a turbulent 18 months for travel in Australia, next week we begin a new chapter with the re-opening of Australia’s international border.

The joy and experiences that travel provide cannot be understated, and if you’re anything like me (a nomad!), you’ll be jumping at the opportunity to finally dust off your passport and start planning your next big adventure.

While not all Australians will be able to immediately travel overseas, we know as a country we are moving in the right direction to restore the freedoms we all so dearly miss, and we’re confident that international travel will soon be available to everyone.

Freedoms start with vaccinations, so thank you for rolling up your sleeves to protect yourself, your loved-ones, and those who can’t be vaccinated, so we can once again see the world.

International redemptions to re-open on 1 November 2021

Since starting in the role last month, I have been working closely with Virgin Australia CEO Jayne Hrdlicka and the Velocity management team, to re-open our partnerships with a number of leading international airlines, starting with:

· Virgin Atlantic;
· Air Canada;
· Delta Air Lines;
· Etihad Airways;
· Hawaiian Airlines;
· Singapore Airlines; and
· South African Airways.

I’m thrilled to have these wonderful airlines continue in the Velocity program, providing you an enviable international network of flights to hundreds of destinations around the world.

From 11:59pm AEDT next Monday 1 November 2021, you’ll be able to make Reward Seat bookings using your Velocity Points for flights on Virgin Atlantic, Air Canada, Delta Air Lines, Etihad Airways, Hawaiian Airlines and South African Airways.

Singapore Airlines will be next to offer Reward Seats as they expand their network and services to and from Australia. We will update you as their Reward Seats become available.

As many of you are already aware, we are scheduled to resume Virgin Australia international services to Nadi, Fiji, with the first flight taking-off from Sydney on 16 December 2021, followed by Bali and New Zealand. All up, we have approximately one-million Reward Seats available for you to book across the Virgin Australia domestic and international network right now, which will give you many opportunities to reunite with friends and family or to embark on a new travel adventure.

When making a Reward Seat booking on our partner airlines, please be understanding that travel dates and destinations will vary for each carrier as will Reward Seat availability. We will have limited Reward Seat availability to begin with, but that is expected to grow in stages as international travel demand returns. As always, Velocity Points and Status earn will be available on eligible regular bookings made directly with Virgin Australia and our partner airlines.

International Reward Seat bookings for Virgin Australia and partner airlines can be made from 11.59pm Monday 1 November 2021 on the Velocity website or by calling the Membership Contact Centre on 13 18 75.

Creating even more value when earning Points

While many of you have been able to amass a healthy Points balance during the pandemic through our everyday earn partners, we’re making it even easier for you to earn Points to get to your next international holiday or dream reward.

Bonus Points campaign: From 1 November 2021, you’ll earn a Points bonus of between 20-30% when you transfer your reward points from participating credit card partners to Velocity by 30 November 2021*. Stay tuned for more details next week.

Up to double Status Credits: When travelling on Virgin Australia domestic and international services between now and 31 March 2022, you’ll earn up to double Status Credits depending on your fare class.^

These are just some of the ways we’re showing our commitment and loyalty to you as we emerge from lockdown and begin to see the world again.

International travel will look a little different

We know international flying will look a little different to when you last travelled overseas, so we’re developing a guide on what to expect in preparation for take-off.

An email containing the guide will be sent to you within weeks containing key details so you’re ready to soar. As always, please check country travel requirements prior to travel.

I’m so excited for the future and I look forward to meeting many of you as I start travelling around our network.

In a world full of choice, thank you for your continued commitment to Virgin Australia and Velocity Frequent Flyer.

Happy travelling,


56b3JNSDqcQ26ErAJIObvEdN.jpg
Nick Rohrlach
CEO of Velocity Frequent Flyer
 

MEL_Traveller

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Any word on when DFAT Smart Traveller country assessments will be updated? I'm interested to know if any countries will still be rated as "Do not travel" for Covid reasons (as that affects travel insurance typically).

There's a separate thread here on AFF around covid travel insurance. Several companies provide complete cover to countries marked 'do not travel' (due to covid) provided you have had an approved vaccine.
 

drron

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Mrsdrron got an email from TG.No idea why as we have only had 1 flight each in the last 7-8 years and that was an LM redemption.
However it is giving their timetable of resumption of service.
THAI announces NON-Stop flights from Sydney to coughet
From 8 December, 2021, THAI will launch non-stop flights between Sydney and coughet, Thailand’s premier beach destination, three times each week on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. Depart Sydney at 9.30am and arrive in time for coughtails at 2.40pm. For more information, please read more here.

Flight Schedules Update:
Flights have resumed between Sydney and Bangkok and from 17 November 2021, 4 flights weekly are scheduled. Flights to/from Melbourne are scheduled to resume in April 2022.

Beyond Thailand, flights have resumed or will soon resume to Europe and Asia, including London, Paris, Frankfurt, Milan, Brussels, Zurich, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Singapore and many more. Flights to India, Pakistan and Bangladesh will resume in January 2022. Find out more.

However the entry requirements for Thailand doesn't appeal to me.

 

N860CR

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It’s amazing to see how quickly this has all turned around.

Next week I’ll checkin with JL to fly to Tokyo, sit in the lounge for 7 hours then fly to London. No testing prior to departure. Zero. Nada. My £19 lateral flow test is already sitting in Birmingham waiting for me to wipe myself with on arrival and upload via an app. Then I’m done. Australia really did the worlds fastest u-turn.
 
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Flashback

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It’s amazing to see how quickly this has all turned around.

Next week I’ll checkin with JL to fly to Tokyo, sit in the lounge for 7 hours then fly to London. No testing prior to departure. Zero. Nada. My £19 lateral flow test is already sitting in Birmingham waiting for me to wipe myself with on arrival and upload via an app. Then I’m done. Australia really did the worlds fastest u-turn.
Parts of Australia, you wouldn't be saying that in WA!
 

hb13

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It’s amazing to see how quickly this has all turned around.

Next week I’ll checkin with JL to fly to Tokyo, sit in the lounge for 7 hours then fly to London. No testing prior to departure. Zero. Nada. My £19 lateral flow test is already sitting in Birmingham waiting for me to wipe myself with on arrival and upload via an app. Then I’m done. Australia really did the worlds fastest u-turn.

Great to hear! I'm also astounded - in a very good way how we have gone from 2 weeks hotel quarantine to no quarantine at all in MEL/SYD. Great news.
 
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I'm not sure whether this is the correct location for this, but I wasn't able to work out where is, so here we go.

The ABC has reported this: Mixed Vaccine Travellers Unable to Access SG FEPO Flights to Australia. It says:

"When the Australian government announced international borders would reopen, Ms Nilsen checked the Services Australia website and with the Australian embassy in Vietnam about vaccine certification.

The embassy told her that having two different vaccines was acceptable as long as they were approved varieties like AstraZeneca or Pfizer.

So she booked tickets to visit her and Mr Nilsen's parents in rural New South Wales, who they have not seen for almost two years.
...

But on Friday, she received an update from the embassy that said the rules were changing constantly and people who had mixed shots would be considered "not vaccinated".
...

A day later, Singapore Airlines advised Ms Nilsen that the the flight had been designated as "For Eligible Passengers Only" (FEPO) and that mixed vaccines would not be recognised.

Singapore Airlines, Scoot and Vietnam Airlines all have statements on their websites that customers with mixed vaccine doses are not eligible at this stage."

The SG website (SG Entry into Australia) says:

"Singapore Airlines will begin flying quarantine-free For Eligible Passengers Only (FEPO) flights from Singapore to Sydney and from Singapore to Melbourne starting 1 November 2021.

To board this flight, all passengers must meet the following requirements:
  • You are an Australian citizen or permanent resident.
  • If you are a foreign national (including immediate family members of Australian citizens and permanent residents), you must hold a valid visa and a travel restriction exemption.
  • Being fully vaccinated with a TGA approved or recognised vaccine, such as Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Janssen-Cilag, Moderna, Coronavac, or Covishield, at least 7 days prior to arrival in Australia. Children under the age of 12 and those who cannot be vaccinated due to a medical condition are exempted from this requirement.
  • Presenting a valid vaccination certificate in English, i.e. either the Australian Government issued International Covid-19 Vaccination Certificate (ICVC) or a paper or digital vaccination certification issued by a national or state/provincial level authority or accredited vaccination provider.
  • Presenting a negative result for a PCR test taken within 72 hours before flight departure.
  • Completing the Australia Travel Declaration at least 72 hours before flight departure.
  • Further requirements may apply. Please check the latest requirements to confirm your eligibility before booking. "
The Scoot website (Carriage of Passengers Into and Out of Australia) says (bold emphasis added):

"Eligibility to travel into Australia is determined by the Australian Government and customers must at least meet the following criteria:
  • Be an Australian Citizen or Permanent Resident or
  • A foreign national to Australia (including immediate family members of Australian citizens and permanent residents), holding a valid visa and travel restriction exemption
Customers must also:
  • Be fully vaccinated with an Australian Therapeutic Good Administration (TGA) approved or recognised vaccine, at least seven days prior to arrival in Australia. Those vaccinated with mixed vaccine doses are not eligible.
  • Hold a valid vaccination certificate issued in English i.e. either the Australian Government issued International Covid-19 Vaccination Certificate (ICVC) or a paper or digital vaccination certification issued by a national or state-level public health authority, or an accredited vaccination provider.
  • Produce evidence of a negative Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test taken within 72 hours of departure of the first flight to Australia.
  • Complete the Australia Travel Declaration (ATD) at least 72 hours before departure."
As I hitherto understood matters, mixed (heterologous) vaccination with 2 doses of TGA approved or recognised vaccines is being treated as full vaccination. I was heterologously vaccinated in Canada, and following my AIR record being updated, now have an Australian Government COVID-19 Digital Certificate which says "the individual has received all required COVID-19 vaccinations" with a big tick in a green box, and an International COVID-19 Vaccination Certificate issued by Australia.

However, Australian government webpages such as Travel for vaccinated Australians and permanent residents | COVID-19 and the border are maddeningly vague. There is no direct and unambiguous statement on that page which says heterologous vaccination is permitted (or not permitted) for entry into Australia purposes.

The only direct statement I can find which says mixed vaccination is not recognised for entry purposes is on COVID-19 vaccinations, which says "You won’t be considered fully vaccinated if you received different vaccine types for your first and second dose of a 2 dose course." That page provides links to other Australian government websites which do not directly and unambiguously address the matter, so it is not clear to me how the author of the smartravller page is able to make that assertion.

The supposedly authoritative TGA advice on vaccine recognition (COVID-19 vaccines not registered in Australia but in current international use - TGA advice on "recognition") does not directly and unambiguously state whether or not heterologous vaccination is "recognised". It just says:

"There is no published direct evidence on the clinical efficacy against infection or hospitalisation for mixed dosing schedules using combinations of COVID-19 vaccines. There is, however, a rapidly developing body of studies examining antibody and neutralising antibody markers of immunity in a variety of combinations for Comirnaty, Spikevax and Vaxzevria. In general, mixed vaccine schedules with these vaccines produce equivalent or better levels antibody responses than same-vaccine schedules, but the duration and clinical significance of these responses has not been determined (Appendix 2.1)."

(As an aside, this is already out of date as British Columbia has published direct evidence on clinical efficacy of mixed dosing schedules: Skowronski DM, Setayeshgar S, Zou M et al. Two-dose vaccine effectiveness against SARS-CoV-2 infection and hospitalization, including Delta variant: a test-negative design, as has Quebec: Efficacité de deux doses de vaccin contre la COVID-19 chez les adultes québécois vivant dans la communauté | INSPQ).

Does anyone else have any information / data points to share on this? @drron, have you seen anything which confirms things one way or the other? Will inbound Australian citizens and permanent residents be able to rely on heterologous vaccination using TGA-approved or recognised vaccines to be eligible for quarantine-exempt entry into Australia?
 

MEL_Traveller

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The big ugly red banner on Smart Traveller is gone.

This is progress.....

Hmmm... the headline banner may be gone, and the site says they've removed their global 'do not travel' advisory... but the first fivee countries I checked India, United Kingdom, China, Singapore and Japan all say 'do not travel' due to covid. Singapore's warning is dated 27 October... so not like it is historic.

All fixed now - as per posts below.
 
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levelnine

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Hmmm... the headline banner may be gone, and the site says they've removed their global 'do not travel' advisory... but the first fivee countries I checked India, United Kingdom, China, Singapore and Japan all say 'do not travel' due to covid. Singapore's warning is dated 27 October... so not like it is historic.
It says right at the top of the website they're in the process of updating the travel advisories. Hang tight.
 

OATEK

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Hmmm... the headline banner may be gone, and the site says they've removed their global 'do not travel' advisory... but the first fivee countries I checked India, United Kingdom, China, Singapore and Japan all say 'do not travel' due to covid. Singapore's warning is dated 27 October... so not like it is historic.
Of course you could view the changes as substantial, and be more than happy to check back later knowing that it will all become clear soon.
 

antycbr

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Of course you could view the changes as substantial, and be more than happy to check back later knowing that it will all become clear soon.
Yeah the Singaporeans won’t be keen on a VTL if we have a Do Not Travel advisory on them.

Patience people, it’s the public service.
 

justinbrett

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Hmmm... the headline banner may be gone, and the site says they've removed their global 'do not travel' advisory... but the first fivee countries I checked India, United Kingdom, China, Singapore and Japan all say 'do not travel' due to covid. Singapore's warning is dated 27 October... so not like it is historic.

And in the search:
98F8B436-6AD4-466F-9B82-027E371B94AC.jpeg
 

Telemachus

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Patience is rewarded. On Smart Traveller the UK (among other countries) is now back to Level 2 (Exercise High Degree of Caution). A strange feeling to read the familiar broad-brush stuff about terrorism, NI and petty crime. And again I am amused by the understated warning about British weather: ‘Severe weather can disrupt transport’ – which should read ‘Severe weather will disrupt transport’….

Now we can expect the market to offer new and revised travel insurance options.
 

Andrewt

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It’s amazing to see how quickly this has all turned around.

Next week I’ll checkin with JL to fly to Tokyo, sit in the lounge for 7 hours then fly to London. No testing prior to departure. Zero. Nada. My £19 lateral flow test is already sitting in Birmingham waiting for me to wipe myself with on arrival and upload via an app. Then I’m done. Australia really did the worlds fastest u-turn.
Interested to hear how you go, I'll be following in your footsteps in 3 weeks. From what I have read the lounge (only JAL First currently open) will not be open for the entire lay-over, its closed until 22:00.
 

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