Qantas: No international flights until July 2021
Coronavirus punches a $4 billion hole in the airline's revenues.
Bad news for Qantas Frequent Flyers: the airline has now confirmed that it doesn't expect to resume any international flights until at least July 2021.
In its annual results announcement, the airline noted that its international network was "unlikely to restart before July 2021". The vast majority of its international flights were paused in April when the coronavirus pandemic began. A handful of flights are being operated with federal government funding.
Qantas said that COVID-19 had reduced its annual revenues by $4 billion. It still managed to eke out a $124 million annual profit, but that was down 91% on the previous year.
There's a slight possibility that trans-Tasman flights to New Zealand could resume earlier, assuming that Australia and New Zealand reach a deal on the much-discussed travel bubble. However, given the recent resumption of community transmission in New Zealand and the wide range of border closures within Australia, that's also not expected to happen until 2021.
Qantas had previously said that international flights would not resume until March 2021, which has been the earliest date where reward flights have been available for booking. The airline increased the number of domestic reward flights by up to 50% earlier this year, recognising that there were few other good-value points redemption options available.
"We know there are a lot of travel plans on hold – places you want to go, people you can't wait to see again," Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said. "We'll be ready to take you as soon as borders re-open, with extra safety measures on-board."
Qantas Frequent Flyer itself was one of the few bright spots. Total membership rose by 4% to 13.4 million members. Over 55,000 people have signed up to earn Qantas Points through Afterpay.
So the lesson for frequent flyers? Saving your Qantas Points for international travel is still the best-value option. But make those plans for mid-2021 at the earliest.
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Picture: Angus Kidman