Qantas Airlines boss Alan Joyce has said that international flights will not resume until a coronavirus vaccine is available.
Mr Joyce hopes the federal government will develop travel bubbles with other overseas destinations with flights from Australia to Europe and the US expected to remain off the cards until the end of 2021.
On Monday, Mr Joyce told the Today Show: “With New Zealand it’s a one-way travel bubble. Hopefully, we can get that in both directions. That’s a massive market.”
“Kiwis were the second highest tourism market into Australia before Covid. We’re hoping they there may be bubbles to Korea, Taiwan, Singapore eventually under the right circumstances.
“We haven’t flown to Korea and Taiwan in decades, but we’d put services back into those destinations if we could.”
For travellers planning flights to Europe and the US in the next 12 months, Mr Joyce had some bad news. With the numbers of new cases continuing to rise in both tourism hot spots, he thinks it will be difficult to begin making plans just yet.
“Unfortunately, with the levels of the virus in the United States and in Europe, we’re not going to see operations to those destinations in any real strength until we see a vaccine being rolled out, which is likely towards the end of 2021,” Mr Joyce said.
As he addressed the ongoing saga of domestic borders, Mr Joyce said Australians will just have to live with the virus until a vaccine has been rolled out.
“I think we need a standard approach across the country about what are the levels when a border does open and when they do close, instead of having these ad hoc rules across the country when everybody’s taken a different approach on it,” said Mr Joyce.
“We have a whole series of protections that are put in place that will allow us to do things. We’ll have to learn to live with this virus and using tracking and tracing in the various states which has been very effective has to be the way to manage this going forward.”
Mr Joyce has hopes of the airline returning to 60% capacity of its pre-COVID domestic schedule by Christmas. When New South Wales reopens its borders to Victoria on November 23rd, Qantas plans to have 15 flights operating a day between Melbourne and Sydney.