Qantas now accepts international flight bookings

Qantas is preparing for international travel to recommence in a matter of months for the first time in almost two years.

The national carrier is now accepting bookings on services to London, Vancouver and Singapore from December 18, and to destinations including Los Angeles, Tokyo, Hawaii and Fiji in the days following.

Most services depart from Melbourne and Sydney, with some from Brisbane.

Seats remain available for most flights, however, services will only operate on the condition the ban on overseas travel is lifted as planned on December 17.

Just last month, as Australia’s vaccination rollout was gaining pace, Qantas announced its plans to restart international travel to some overseas destinations before the year is out.

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said the airline expected to resume flights to some low-risk destinations with high vaccination rates from mid-December. These include Singapore, Japan, the US, UK, Canada and New Zealand.

Flights to cities with lower vaccination rates – such as Bali, Jakarta, Manila and Johannesburg – would restart closer to April 2022.

Australia is projected to reach the National Cabinet’s ‘Phase C’ vaccination threshold of 80 per cent in December 2021, which will prompt the gradual reopening of international borders.

But Joyce flagged travel would only resume if and when the federal government allows it.

“It’s obviously up to government exactly how and when our international borders re-open, but with Australia on track to meet the 80 per cent trigger agreed by National Cabinet by the end of the year, we need to plan ahead for what is a complex restart process,” he said in August.

“We can adjust our plans if the circumstances change, which we’ve already had to do several times during this pandemic.”

The airline has been clear that it would require passengers to be fully vaccinated before boarding an international flight. The government is also yet to decide on the quarantine requirements for travellers visiting or returning to Australia.