Qantas will bring forward restarting international flights to popular destinations and launch a new route to India.
Massive demand for air travel has been triggered by the announcement Australia’s international border will open on November 1 in NSW.
Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce – alongside Prime Minister Scott Morrison – announced major changes to the national carrier’s flight schedule on Friday.
All stood-down Qantas and Jetstar workers, including 5000 employees linked to domestic travel and 6000 to international, will return to work in early December.
A new route between Sydney and New Delhi will launch on December 6, with three flights a week.
Sydney to Singapore flights will resume on November 23, four weeks earlier than scheduled. It will operate three days a week before ramping up to daily before Christmas.
Sydney to Fiji will be brought forward to December 7 for four flights a week.
Qantas will fly from Sydney to Johannesburg three times a week from January 5, three months earlier than scheduled.
From January 14, the airline will resume its Sydney to Bangkok services more than two months earlier than expected, while Jetstar flights to Phuket will start on January 12.
Sales on already announced Qantas flights to London and Los Angeles have been strong, with some selling out in hours after the border announcement.
Mr Joyce said it was big news for Australia after Qantas experienced its darkest period during the coronavirus pandemic.
“It has meant we have had to ground aircraft, stand down people and restructure the business. But there is light at the end of the tunnel,” he said at Sydney Airport.
“It is very clear that because Australians have rolled up their sleeves and taken the jab, we can see that light.”
Flights to Honolulu, Vancouver, Tokyo and New Zealand are still scheduled to commence from mid-December 2021, with other destinations to restart in the new year.
All travellers will have to be fully vaccinated and will be required to test negative for coronavirus within 72 hours of departure.
Mr Morrison said he was in the final stages of finalising an agreement with Singapore about two-way travel arrangements similar to New Zealand.
“We anticipate that being able to be achieved within the next week or so, as we would open up to more visa class holders coming out of the Singapore,” he said.
Mr Morrison said he would speak to Indonesian President Joko Widodo at an international conference at the end of the month about restarting travel between the two nations.