- Melbourne-London flights delayed to November 27
- Brisbane flights to LA and Singapore pushed back to February 2022
- Australia-New Zealand to remain closed until January 2022
Proving that the runway to post-pandemic skies is anything but smooth, Qantas has been forced to delay flights from Melbourne and Brisbane, as well as to New Zealand and New Caledonia.
While Qantas was quick to bring forward its Melbourne-London flights to November 6, following Victoria's move to abandon hotel and home quarantine for fully-vaccinated travellers, the airline says "demand for these earlier flights has been subdued."
"This situation is short-lived, as demand on this route from late November onwards is much stronger," Qantas claims, "leading to the decision for the restart date to be delayed from 6 November to 27 November 2021."
Qantas has confirmed that this will also mean the Melbourne International First Lounge will remain closed until late November.
In the meantime, those Melbournians still eager to head to the UK before November 27 will have the option of joining the Sydney-London flights, which resume on November 1 and are still going strong, especially on the inbound QF2 leg.
"More than 10 additional return services have already been added to this route for November, with particularly strong demand from Australians coming home in time for Christmas," Qantas says.
Executive Traveller understands that the airline is considering opening up additional Classic Reward seats, which frequent flyers can book at the base rate of Qantas Points, on the outbound QF1 service.
Brisbane restart bumped to 2022
As previously reported, Queensland won't allow quarantine-free international travel until early 2022, when it reaches a statewide 90% vaccination rate – as opposed to the original 80% benchmark, which New South Wales and Victoria held to.
This has left Qantas with no choice but to hit the pause button on overseas flights from Brisbane.
At the time of writing, flights to Los Angeles and Singapore now taking off on February 2, 2022, with the possibility that flights to New Zealand could come back a little sooner (see below).
Flights to other international destinations from Queensland will resume progressively in the months following, the airline says.
New Zealand closed until at least January 2022
Hopes of trans-Tasman travel returning in December were also dashed earlier today when NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said that hotel quarantine and limits on the number of arrivals will continue for people travelling from Australia.
This will see Qantas and Jetstar push back flights from Sydney and Melbourne to at least January 3, 2022.
"These dates could be pushed later should these restrictions remain," the airline adds. "Qantas and Jetstar are ready to ramp up flights when people can travel freely between Australia and New Zealand again."
Finally, Noumea – a popular and idyllic getaway for many east coast Australians – will remain out of reach for a little bit longer, with flights pushed back by three months.
Sydney-Noumea is now being rescheduled to March 27, 2022, with Brisbane-Noumea following on April 2, 2022.
Qantas says that its customers booked on any of those cancelled flights will be contacted by Qantas or their travel agent "and provided with several options, including rebooking to a later date, or receiving a refund or flight credit. They do not need to call contact centres."