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Joyce says drop pre-flight testing for domestic travel

written by Hannah Dowling | November 8, 2021
Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce delivers the airline group's 2018/19 full year results. (Seth Jaworski)
Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce pictured when he delivered the airline group’s 2018/19 full year results. (Seth Jaworski)

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce has called on state premiers to drop COVID PCR testing requirements for domestic travel, ahead of easing state border restrictions.

Over the last few weeks, each state has revealed its roadmap out of COVID-19 restrictions and border closures.

Many states, including Queensland and Western Australia, have stipulated that once hard borders come down, travellers will not only need to be fully vaccinated to cross state lines, but also provide a negative PCR COVID test within three days of travel.

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Joyce called on states to drop such testing requirements, in light of Australia’s incredibly high vaccination rate.

“Australia is on track to have one of the highest vaccine rates of any country in the world and that gives us a lot of reassurance that we can open safely, and stay open,” Joyce said, speaking at the Qantas AGM on Friday.

“There will still be challenges – but we are investing in the restart because we have every confidence that the only way is forward,” he said.

“One of those challenges is a patchwork of entry conditions nationwide. Each time borders closed over the past 18 months, different states had different rules. Unfortunately, we’re seeing the same thing as we reopen.

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“That is frustrating for vaccinated travellers who would reasonably expect they can move freely and easily.

“Hopefully, these conditions – particularly PCR testing at every turn – is dispensed with as Australia becomes more confident living with COVID. Surely that’s something we’ve all earned.”

It comes as Australia hit its 80 per cent vaccination target throughout the country on Saturday.

On Friday, Western Australia Premier Mark McGowan announced he will reopen his state’s borders to NSW, Victoria and overseas travellers once the vaccination rate in WA reaches 90 per cent in people aged 12 and over – expected in January or February next year.

At that point, all travellers into the state will need to be fully vaccinated and return a negative COVID PCR test 72 hours prior to departure. Arrivals will also need to perform a second PCR test within 48 hours of entering WA.

Meanwhile, the Tasmanian government announced that from 15 December, travellers from high-risk areas, including NSW, Victoria and ACT, will be required to provide a negative COVID test in the 72 hours prior to travel, however fully vaccinated arrivals from low-risk states will not face any testing requirements.

Last month, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced that both the state’s domestic and international borders will reopen by Christmas, however they will also continue to impose PCR testing requirements on fully vaccinated interstate arrivals.

On Friday, Victoria and NSW both dropped their border restrictions between the country’s two most populous states, which now allows free movement for fully vaccinated travellers with no testing requirements.

12 Comments

  • Lynden Kemp

    says:

    Joyce & Qantas first priority!? – Public Health second priority!?
    Is this what Joyce is asking for!?

    • Kevin

      says:

      No . What he is saying that with the highest vaccinated country in the world when borders are dropped then this practice can cease. A lot has been said about the human rights of the unvaccinated. Well what about my human rights of having cotton pads shoved up my nose. If I remember my passport said citizen of Australia.

  • I’m A Teapot

    says:

    Thats incredibly stupid. RAT testing rather than pcr is the only safe way to determine who is carrying the virus. Even if you are jabbed you can catch covid, transmit it or get sick. Wake up Alan, if you are smart you could make a motza selling test kits at the gate.
    Isn’t this gut supposed to be smart ?

  • Colin Chilcott

    says:

    100% agree with Joyce. We have been asked to get fully vaccinated. That should be enough for those who have complied. Individual states/territories requirements are now completely out of hand and it seems to be more about government popularity rather than the national interest.

  • Peter R

    says:

    He is just saying how stupid it is to be continually tested if you are fully vacxx’d.

    I agree with him, I got vaccinated so I don’t have to be subjected to continual testing.

    Flying is way safer than being on a bus or train yet these same Premier’s don’t require you to be tested 72 hours before you get on a public bus.

    • Most of the airlines now have the Hep2 Air filtration system installed within their air-conditioning system trapping the minute particles such as Covid and other airborne bacteria that would normally spread these ailments to minimise the spread and infection of passengers, such as all the Australian airliners, so Joyce’s call is reasonable and understandable.

  • Yip, Joyce just doesnt get it does he…health needs to be absolutely first and travel/business has to be second.
    Maybe the board and greedy ”faceless” shareholders push him, but no excuse.

  • James joyner

    says:

    I won’t be flying anywhere where I have to present a medical status. Absolute paranoia.

  • Again the Labor states are creating a nonsense.
    I have travelled overseas during Covid and had to pay $154 to a laboratory for a Covid test within the 72 hour period. Clearly WA and Queensland are expecting the federal Government to keep paying for Covid testing so that Australians can travel.
    If they want the test let them pay. Why would Federal , NSW or VIC Government pay for domestic pre-flight testing?
    The real story is WA and QLD have run their hospital systems down so far they can’t manage a Covid outbreak so way to survive is keep others out for as long as they can.

  • Kenneth

    says:

    Couldn’t agree more. And considering the price of a PCR test in Australia, you pay more for testing than your actual ticket.

  • Adrian P

    says:

    According to the World Health Organization 7 million people globally die every year from diseases caused by air pollution. Apparently to combat Covid, the advice is to open the windows and turn up the air conditioning fans to suck in as much of this pollution as possible into our schools, work places and shopping centres etc. (Airport Terminal Designers take note)
    Also part of the reason to have auto-stop taps in public spaces is that we do not have to touch a tap and re-contaminate our hands to turn the tap off. The health advice for Covid is to wash our hands for 20 seconds. There is not an auto-stop tap available which operates for 20 seconds. the best I could find was 18 seconds, most were adjustable to between 10 and 15 seconds, others were as little as between 3 and 8 seconds. (Airport Terminal Designers take note).
    Advice from health experts should be practical in nature.

  • OVTraveller

    says:

    It is regrettable that the PPPs( perpetual,paranoiac,premiers) continue to push their over the top entry requirements to the detriment of tourism in their states. Enough is enough when as a senior I am fully vaccinated, will have a booster before the end of the year and may , just may have a single test before my first flight in 2022. When will reason come again in Australia?

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