Australia’s Qantas Group expects to resume flying to the U.S. in mid-December, assuming circumstances with the Covid-19 virus don’t substantially change from their current trajectory.
The company, which includes the eponymous Qantas Airways and JetStar, made that announcement as it laid out its broader international relaunch plan, which would also include mid-December relaunches to Singapore, Japan, the U.K., Canada and potentially New Zealand.
Related: Qantas says covid vaccination will be mandatory for international passengers
Qantas is basing its timeline on the projection that Australia will reach a vaccination rate of 80% in December, triggering the gradual reopening of international borders under the country’s Covid reopening policy.
Initial reopenings would involve nations that have high vaccination levels, including the U.S.
Qantas initially expects to resume its long-range international flying with Boeing 787 Dreamliners and Airbus A330s. But the carrier targeted summer for the return to service of five Airbus A380 jumbo jets, including for use on the Sydney to Los Angeles route.
By early 2024 Qantas expects to bring 10 of its 12 A380s back into service with upgraded cabins. Its other two A380s are to be retired.
“We can adjust our plans if the circumstances change, which we’ve already had to do several times during this pandemic,” Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said. “Some people might say we’re being too optimistic, but based on the pace of the vaccine rollout, this is within reach, and we want to make sure we’re ready.”
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