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Australia to UK Qantas flights to restart on December 18

written by Adam Thorn | September 15, 2021

A Qantas 787-9, VH-ZND, as shot by Victor Pody. 

Brits in Australia will be able to be reunited with their families in time for Christmas after Qantas confirmed the first flights from Sydney and Melbourne to London will depart on 18 December.

On that day, flights will also recommence to Los Angeles, Vancouver and Singapore, with Tokyo and Fiji coming online the next day and Honolulu the day after that.

Currently, Australian citizens and permanent residents can only leave the country with an exemption, with Qantas having halted all commercial international flights other than government-supplemented repatriations. Those returning must hotel quarantine for two weeks, but there is hope the federal government will have relaxed that rule later this year, in favour of home quarantine or proof of vaccination status.

The airline previously confirmed plans to restart international flying in August, but only today has confirmed the exact dates that are bookable on its website.

Currently, flights from Sydney to London via Perth on 18 December are selling from just $2,794.


Qantas has previously said its international re-opening is likely to be “gradual”, with a focus on low-risk countries first, including those with high vaccination uptake including the UK, US, and parts of Asia.

The airline is also reinstating services between Australia and New Zealand, projecting a re-start of the currently paused trans-Tasman travel bubble, also in December.

Qantas has pushed back its planned return to higher-risk destinations, such as Bali, Bangkok, Manila and Johannesburg, until April 2022.

In August, the business’ CEO, Alan Joyce, said that while the prospect of flying overseas might feel a long way off, the current pace of the vaccine rollout means we will soon get our freedoms back.

“It’s obviously up to the 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,” said Joyce.

“There’s a lot of work that needs to happen, including training our people and carefully bringing aircraft back into service. We’re also working to integrate the IATA travel pass into our systems to help our customers prove their vaccine status and cross borders.

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

Earlier in the year, Qantas pushed back its intended start date for international routes from October to December, despite the federal government’s modeling suggesting borders would remain shut until mid-2022.

It came as the airline posted a statutory loss before tax of $1.83 billion, largely driven by sudden and ongoing border closures in the second half of the financial year.

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Comments (3)

  • John Walker


    Wouldn’t have though integrating the IATA pass would be a big deal? Though maybe it is considering other COVID tracker attempts.
    Why not link it to passports?

  • Steve A


    Yes, we need to get international travel back on the agenda again just as we need open borders between the states, but the Qantas CEO has persistently overstated starting dates in the past in order to get gullible Australians to fund the airline. Qantas owes the general Australian population billions of dollars that it has converted into Qantas points (effectively IOU’s), including my own family.
    Australians are now in grave risk of losing their money as Qantas now has more debt than assets, has lost billions more than it has made in profits during the Joyce years, has been severely asset stripped (ie sales of SYD and MEL terminal assets, sale of Snap Fresh and Q Catering), and severe asset ageing.
    Just a handful of new aircraft have joined the fleet as dozens and dozens have been cancelled (51 B787’s at one time went from being on firm order to being cancelled), and dozens and dozens have been habitually postponed (the 99 A320neos).
    Some serious changes need to be made at Qantas or QF shareholders will never get a decent return for themselves.
    The share price was $6.30 in 2007, and today it is much less than that, despite more than $3 billion being spent on share price stabilisation, and despite shareholders dividend payments going from 28 cps and even 35 cps in 2008, down to an average of just 7 cps during the Joyce years.
    And of course shareholders weren’t even paid a dividend for a seven year period, and are currently going through their second seven year period without a dividend payment.
    Is it just me, because I am amazed that other people can’t see the problems with the way that Qantas is and has been run?
    Some serious soul searching and serious changes need to be made.

  • Ana


    I cannot wait enough for this to resume so I can hug my daughter again. She left UK at 15, was due back the year after when the Pandemic hit and now she has just turned 18. In addition she had a son, my grandson who is turning 1yo on 17/09 and I have yet to meet him, smell, hug, kiss, nurse and play with him. The distance has taken a huge toll on our mental health and this prospect gives me hope and something to look forward to this Christmas 2021. ?

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