Australians to be able to travel overseas from November 1 as Qantas brings forward international flights

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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.

A Qantas A380 Airbus takes off. Credit: Phil Walter/Getty Images

“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.”

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce.
Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce. Credit: DAVID MOIR/AAPIMAGE

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.”

Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has supported NSW’s plan to allow quarantine free international travel Credit: AAP

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.

Members of the public wear face masks as they check into the Sonic Healthcare COVID-19 Vaccinations hub.
Members of the public wear face masks as they check into the Sonic Healthcare COVID-19 Vaccinations hub. Credit: BIANCA DE MARCHI/AAPIMAGE

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.

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