Qantas CEO, Alan Joyce, provided further insight into when Aussie borders will reopen.
Earlier this month, Prime Minister Scott Morrison dashed many Australian's hopes, when he stated explicitly that the Aussie international travel restrictions would not be lifted in time for Christmas.
“International travel constraints on inbound arrivals to Australia should be continued in their current form,” the Prime Minister explained.
“We look forward to at some point that that might be able to be altered, but at this point, we are not going to put any further strain on the quarantine arrangements around the country, and that will remain in place now for some months.”
Qantas CEO, Alan Joyce, has now provided Aussies struggling with their wanderlust a light at the end of the tunnel. During a press conference, he revealed that he believes international air travel will resume sometime mid next year.
"We have put the 787s in long-term storage which fly transcontinental, and we believe the earliest we will see the international borders opening up is the middle of next year."
That said, he thinks there will still be restrictions in place, dependent on nations' level of Coronavirus infection and the development and distribution of an effective vaccine.
"The US, with the level of [COVID-19] prevalence there, it is probably going to take some time," explained Alan Joyce. "There will probably need to be a vaccine before we could see [travel] happening.
“We potentially could see a vaccine by the middle or the end of next year, and countries like the US may be the first country to have widespread use of that vaccine. So that could mean that the US is seen as a market by the end of 2021. Hopefully, we could, dependent on a vaccine, start seeing flights again.”
Speaking to news.com.au, aviation expert, Neil Hansford, explained that despite some recent outbreaks, he believes that New Zealand will be the first country available to Australians, followed by the Pacific Islands.
“I think the world understands social distancing of 1.5-2 metres and the opening up won’t be universal,” Neil said.
“Africa and South America could be 24-36 months away. Even with a vaccine, only wealthy nations' populations will be able to afford it and even in Australia to vaccinate all of us within three months would be impossible.
“Once other countries can demonstrate NSW levels, the world will open up.”
Originally, he thought that other major destinations such as the UK and the state of Hawaii would open up to Australians as soon as early next year, but the second wave that has struck Victoria "has put back the [international travel] restart time by four or six months".
When travel does begin to reopen sometime in 2021, Alan believes that the following ten countries will be the first available to Aussie travellers:
1. New Zealand
2. Pacific Islands
9. Scandinavia except Sweden
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