Qantas Airways, Australia’s biggest airline, has canceled international flights through October, saying it expects the coronavirus pandemic to continue at least that long if not further.
“With Australia’s borders set to remain closed for some time, we have canceled most international flights until late October,” Qantas said in a statement.
All scheduled flights between Australia and nearby New Zealand are suspended until at least mid-July 2020.
“We will be contacting customers impacted by these changes in the coming weeks,” the airline said. “Calls will be prioritized by travel date and due to the volume of changes, we ask for you to wait to be contacted unless your travel is imminent.”
United Airline is still offering nonstop flights to Sydney but only for cargo and essential travel. Simon Birmingham, Australia’s federal tourism minister, said he doesn’t see travel from or to the country happening before 2021, adding that its international borders will remain sealed until the end of the year, and perhaps longer depending on the future status of the global health crisis.
International tourism represents three percent of Australia’s national gross domestic product.
Qantas is still flying domestic flights within Australia but said “Due to the reduction in travel demand and government restrictions we have temporarily changed some of our services. This includes a significantly reduced food and beverage and inflight entertainment offering, as well as the closure of all lounges, meeting rooms and valet parking.”
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