Qantas has now cancelled most of its scheduled international flights, except some flights to New Zealand, until 24 October 2020.
It comes as Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Simon Birmingham indicates normal international travel may not resume until 2021. Meanwhile, the Queensland government plans to start billing returning international travellers for their mandatory 14-day hotel quarantine from next month.
More Qantas international flights cancelled
The vast majority of Qantas international flights are now cancelled until at least 23 October 2020. It is likely that these cancellations will be extended even further in the coming months if international borders do not reopen. Qantas has not operated scheduled international flights since late March, except for limited government-funded repatriation flights which have now ended.
Until yesterday, Qantas had so far only cancelled international flights until the end of July. Qantas has been encouraging passengers with bookings in August, September and October to request a travel credit by the end of June if they no longer wish to travel. But with most international flights now officially cancelled, passengers with international bookings will now be eligible for a refund if they don’t want a credit.
Passengers with affected bookings will automatically receive Qantas travel credits, but can call Qantas to request a refund instead. Unlike some airlines, Qantas is processing refunds – although some are taking months to process.
Qantas is still selling seats on limited flights between Australia and New Zealand. Last week, Qantas was selling trans-Tasman tickets for travel from 1 July. But seats to Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown are now only available from 20 July onwards.
Although a “Trans-Tasman bubble” is likely to commence at some point in the near future, a starting date is yet to be decided. If the New Zealand border remains closed to Australians beyond July, it is likely that Qantas will also extend the cancellations on its New Zealand services.
International borders “more likely” to reopen in 2021
With the exception of various travel bubbles with New Zealand, the Pacific Islands and potentially some countries in Asia, it is unlikely that Australia’s international borders will fully reopen this year.
Tourism, Trade and Investment minister Simon Birmingham told yesterday’s National Press Club address that it was “more likely” borders will fully reopen next year.
Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: Predictions of when international flights may resume/bans lifted
Queensland government to bill travellers for hotel quarantine
Since 29 March 2020, all Australians returning home have been required to undergo 14 days of hotel quarantine in their city of international arrival. These hotel stays have been paid for by state governments, but this could be set to change soon.
The Queensland government has revealed a plan to charge international travellers arriving in Brisbane up to $200 per day for their 14-day hotel quarantine, starting from 1 July. Passengers will be charged up to $135 per day for hotel accommodation and $65 per day for food, which adds up to $2,800 per adult for two weeks of hotel quarantine.
Other states have not indicated that they plan to start charging passengers arriving from overseas for hotel quarantine, leading some to suggest Queensland residents could simply arrive back in Australia via another state.
Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: PM announced that all international travelers will be quarantined in hotels or designated facilities, starting from Sunday