August 26, 2021 | By Bronwen Largier

This morning, Qantas has released its financial year results, which show a $1.83 billion profit before tax loss off the back of a $12 billion drop in revenue, as well as its plan to restart international flights to “COVID-safe” destinations from December this year.

The airline is basing its timeline on the timeframe in which Australia is expected to reach the 80 percent vaccination threshold across Australia’s population, which triggers the third phase of Australia’s plan to reopen, including lifting the outbound travel ban for vaccinated Australians and removing the cap on returning Australians who are vaccinated.

The airline is expecting the nation to hit the threshold in December, although the ABC’s rollout tracker, which is based on the seven-day moving average on second doses, has us hitting the target nationally on November 17. Currently Queensland is projected to be the last state to reach the 80 percent double dose target a month later on December 17.

Qantas is anticipating countries like the USA, the UK and Japan will be considered low risk countries due to high vaccination rates – even though currently all three of these countries are also experiencing high levels of cases – and for these countries to be amongst the first destinations the carrier will fly to. Flights to countries with low vaccination rates have been pushed back to April 2022.

“It’s obviously up to government exactly how and when our international borders re-open, but with Australia on track to meet the 80 per cent trigger agreed by National Cabinet by the end of the year, we need to plan ahead for what is a complex restart process,” said Qantas CEO Alan Joyce.

“There’s a lot of work that needs to happen, including training for our people and carefully bringing aircraft back into service. We’re also working to integrate the IATA travel pass into our systems to help our customers prove their vaccine status and cross borders.

“We can adjust our plans if the circumstances change, which we’ve already had to do several times during this pandemic. Some people might say we’re being too optimistic, but based on the pace of the vaccine rollout, this is within reach and we want to make sure we’re ready.”