Qantas will once again fly between Sydney and Manila from March 27, following this month’s reopening of The Philippines to tourists and business travellers and today’s similar move by Australia.
The airline has pencilled in a daily Airbus A330 for the Sydney-Manila route, going up against Philippine Airlines, which has continued to connect Australia and the Philippines with flights from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane to Manila, all on the carrier’s Airbus A321-series jets.
Citizens of almost 160 countries which previously enjoyed visa-free entry to the Philippines – including Australia, the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom – are now once again be able to visit the popular Asian destination without entering quarantine.
The economic losses caused to the tourism-dependent archipelago by two years of lockdown were compounded by a super typhoon that smashed into the country in December.
The Philippines moved to scrap its ‘traffic light’ system which ranked countries based on their handing of Covid-19, and shift the focus onto individual travellers, who must be fully vaccinated and submit a negative result for a PCR test taken within 48 hours of their flight’s departure.
While unvaccinated travellers remain banned, unvaccinated Filipino nationals can enter the country on the basis of entering five days quarantine.
However, while popular tourism destinations such as Boracay will welcome visitors, some parts of the Philippines - including many of its smaller islands – impose tight restrictions or remain in lockdown.
As previously reported, Thailand will roll out the welcome mat to visitors from 1 February, while Bali is gearing up for Australian visitors pending government approval for the return of quarantine-free travel.
Australia could also fully reopen its borders to all visitors and business travellers by April, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison remarking over the weekend “I’d like to see us get there soon… certainly before Easter, well before Easter.”