Direct flights between the UK and Australia will only be restored if the quarantine rules are relaxed by the Australian government, a Qantas director has said.
The airline has put its first flights from London to Sydney, Perth and Melbourne up for sale from 19 December. A return trip from Heathrow to Sydney via Singapore, departing on the first date and returning early in the new year, costs almost £ 2,000.
But Stephanie Tully, the airline’s chief customer officer, warned that if a two-week hotel quarantine was still required for vaccinated arrivals to Australia, “we will not get the demand we need”. She said testing should be sufficient.
Ms Tully said at a webinar in Tourism Australia: “The number of Australians who want to travel is at a very high level.
“We see a huge pent-up demand, especially VFR [visiting friends and relations] travelers who want to see family but also from leisure passengers.
She said only Sydney and Melbourne could initially appear on the international route network if the governments of Queensland and Western Australia kept their state borders closed.
“It would be great if we as a nation opened up together [but] we need to plan a scenario where Sydney and Melbourne e.g. could open up first, ”she said.
“We are actively looking at whether our flights from Perth to London go via Darwin during a period when Western Australia is so closed.
“We are preparing for all scenarios. But I think it would be very sad if we did not open as a nation. ”
The main international destination for travelers is the UK, Mrs Tully said.
“The most popular destination we see for bookings is London from both Sydney and Melbourne.”
Demand for flights to Los Angeles and Vancouver has been “very strong,” she said.
The Airbus A380 “superjumbo” is due to return to Sydney-Los Angeles flights from July 2022.