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Qantas boss reveals when Australians could be able to travel overseas again

Australians dreaming of trip abroad could be travelling by mid-next year, with experts predicting the ten countries holidaymakers will be allowed to visit first.

Qantas boss Alan Joyce on Thursday announced the airline’s international flights will likely resume in July 2021, after the federal government ordered a travel ban in March.   

The insight came as Mr Joyce reported the flying kangaroo had lost a whooping $2billion in the 2020 financial year, as the aviation industry reels in the economic fallout of the global pandemic.  

But while Aussies can look forward to being back in the air, the list of permitted destinations is expected to remain restricted for some time. 

Mr Joyce said Qantas’ larger aircrafts – such as A380s – will be grounded for years to come, indicating trips on longer flights routes could be further away.  

‘Most airlines will come through this crisis a lot leaner, which means we have to reinvent how we run parts of our business to succeed in a changed market,’ Mr Joyce said during Thursday’s trading post. 

‘We have parked the A380 for at least three years … We have put the 787s in long-term storage which fly transcontinental and we believe the earliest we will see the international borders opening up is the middle of next year.’ 

Aside from logistical costs, reopening tourism will depend largely on nations’ control of local outbreaks.    

‘The US, with the level of (coronavirus) prevalence there, it is probably going to take some time. There will probably need to be a vaccine before we could see (flights) happening,’ Mr Joyce said. 

‘We potentially could see a vaccine by the middle or the end of next year, and countries like the US may be the first country to have widespread use of that vaccine. So that could mean that the US is seen as a market by the end of 2021, hopefully we could, dependent on a vaccine, start seeing flights again.’

Australia and New Zealand have been in negotiations to create a trans-Tasman travel bubble since border closures came into effect, a plan indefinitely cancelled earlier this month in light of Auckland’s coronavirus outbreak.   

But Aviation expert Neil Hansford predicts the neighbouring nation will be the first to open to Australians.

He said the Pacific Islands will be next, followed by Singapore, Japan, Vietnam and Cambodia. 

European holidays will then be on the cards, with flights resuming to the UK, then Germany,  Scandinavia (except Sweden), and Ireland.

‘I think the world understands social distancing of 1.5-2 metres and the opening up won’t be universal,’ Mr Hansford told 

‘Africa and South America could be 24-36 months away. Even with a vaccine only wealthy nations populations will be able to afford it and even in Australia to vaccinate all of us within three months would be impossible.

‘Once other countries can demonstrate NSW levels, the world will open up.’

Mr Hansford said Victoria’s outbreak set back international travel by four or six months, and travel to the UK and Hawaii could have otherwise recommenced between April and June 2021.  

While the forecast flight dates appear promising, overseas travel is hinging on the development of a coronavirus vaccine. 

Last month, Scott Morrison said globetrotting would not be possible until a jab becomes available to Australians.

‘Right now, the opportunity for large scale travel beyond our borders is not foreseeable,’ he told A Current Affair.

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