Australia’s restart of international travel could move to November 1

Sydney may see a return of international flights within weeks.

By David Flynn, October 11 2021
Australia’s restart of international travel could move to November 1

Overseas travellers could be jetting out of Australia as soon as November 1 under plans to 'fast track' border reopenings and the home quarantine program.

Sydney would be the first city to restart international travel, based on estimates that New South Wales exceeding the 80% vaccination milestone on October 20.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison is in talks with the NSW state government in a bid to "accelerate" the current timetable, which now sees Qantas resuming flights to London and Los Angeles on November 14.

However, many international airlines continue to fly to Australia and would need only to open up passenger bookings on those flights.

"The NSW Premier and I have been discussing how we can accelerate our plan to open international travel when home quarantine is made available,’" Morrison said on Sunday.

"The NSW Government is looking at ways to fast track home quarantine in November and if that happens we will be able to move to facilitate the opening up of the international border into NSW sooner."

Morrison said this the earlier restart would also apply to "vaccinated Australians wishing to return home via Sydney", with NSW Liberals deputy leader Stuart Ayres also telling media that the current cap on international arrivals would either be "substantially lifted" or scrapped by the end of October or early November.

Crucial to the earlier restart would be the ability of those fully-vaccinated travellers returning to home quarantine rather than hotel quarantine.

Home quarantine is currently being trialled in Sydney, with the stay initially pegged at seven days, although the travel industry is keen to see this reduced to a 'test and release' model.

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet said on Sunday that he wanted to see international travel resume "as quickly as possible", adding that the home quarantine program for fully-vaccinated people could begin at the end of this month.

"We can’t live as a hermit kingdom on the other side of the world. If people are double vaccinated it makes complete sense for them to return to Australia in better settings than being cramped up in a hotel for two weeks."

Australia's international travel ban and border closure came into effect on March 20, 2020; the country is now headed for 80% fall vaccination by November 7, driven largely by the uptake in the populous states of NSW and Victoria.

Western Australia and Queensland, which have pushed back on the national reopening plan, are not expected to reach the 80% threshold until December 8 and December 12, respectively.


David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.