Australians to be able to travel overseas from November 1 as Qantas brings forward international flights
Millions of NSW residents will be able to fly overseas within weeks and won’t have to quarantine when they get home under a massive shift in international travel arrangements.
On Friday, the state government announced it was scrapping hotel quarantine for fully vaccinated citizens and residents from November.
They would need to test negative for COVID-19 before boarding their flight home and after landing.
But provided they weren’t carrying COVID and were fully vaccinated with a TGA approved jab, they wouldn’t have to quarantine.
As a result of the announcement, Australia’s national carrier is bringing forward its international flight schedule to November 1.
“Bringing forward the reopening of Australia to the world and removing quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated travellers entering New South Wales is a massive step towards life as we knew it,” CEO Alan Joyce said.
“In just a little over two weeks, Australians around the world can fly into Sydney and people from around Australia can leave on trips they’ve been waiting almost two years to take.
“We hope other states will do the same once they reach the 80 per cent target.
“We have thousands of our pilots and cabin crew wanting to get back to work and they will be thrilled at today’s announcement. It will still be a long time before international travel returns to normal but this is a fantastic start.”
Flights between Sydney and Los Angeles and Sydney and London will resume from November 1.
Other destinations will resume from December and into 2022.
“Removing quarantine for the fully vaccinated is a sensible approach and brings New South Wales into line with many other global cities.
“I want to thank the Prime Minister and Premier Perrottet for the leadership they have shown in getting borders reopened again, which is only possible because so many Australians have rolled up their sleeves in record time.”
A Virgin Australia spokesperson said the move was “fantastic news”.
“Virgin Australia is fully supportive of all measures that help facilitate a safe return to open travel and to the way of life we all value so much,” a spokesperson said.
“We look forward to other states and territories also resuming inbound tourism for fully vaccinated travellers, once vaccination thresholds have been reached.”
Virgin Australia’s Fiji services will resume on December 16 and will be the first international flights to be operated by the relaunched airline.
New South Wales is expected to reach the 80 per cent double dose milestone at the weekend.
Only Australian residents, citizens and their immediate families will be able to bypass quarantine.
Non-vaccinated returned travellers will have to go into hotel quarantine, and the uncapped flights won’t apply to international tourists looking to explore Australia.
“I want to stress that, for the other states and territories and I have advised the premiers and chief ministers to this end, it is about Australian residents and citizens first,” he said.
“The Commonwealth Government has made no decision to allow other visa holders… to come to Australia under these arrangements.
“They are decisions for the Commonwealth Government and when we are in a position to make that decision down the track, obviously in New South Wales, they will be able to do so if they are vaccinated without having to quarantine.”
Perrottet said the shift allowed New South Wales to move towards “opening up to the world”.
“This decision today is a big one, but it is the right one,” Perrottet said on Friday.
“We need to rejoin the world. We can’t live here in a hermit kingdom. We want people back.”