China’s dramatic move to end quarantine and testing for all arriving international travellers as of January 8 is a milestone in the post-pandemic era, given the country has remained locked down for almost three years since the initial Covid-19 outbreak.
But Qantas, which maintained daily flights between Sydney and Shanghai until February 2020, appears in no rush to return to China.
While saying “we welcome the news that China is opening its border,” a Qantas spokesperson confirmed the airline has no current plans to resume flying to China.
Shanghai remains missing from Qantas’ forward schedule, which lists flights almost a year in advance.
“We regularly review our schedule and will keep customers updated about any plans we have to recommence flights into China,” the spokesperson said.
Qantas suspended flights from Sydney to Beijing and Shanghai from February 9, 2020, although the Sydney-Beijing service was already slated to end on February 23 “for commercial reasons.”
Qantas already has an alliance with one of China’s ‘big three’ carriers – Shanghai’s China Eastern – while Guangzhou-based China Southern has been tipped as a potential member of the Oneworld alliance, which would make it a de facto partner for Qantas.
As previously reported, Qantas will resume flights to Hong Kong from the end of January; Cathay Pacific is also eager to ramp up flights between Hong Kong and China once travel resumes, with a spokesperson affirming its aim “to increase our passenger capacity to and from the Chinese mainland as much as possible.”