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Qantas Expects Restart Of International Travel To Highly Vaccinated Countries From December

Qantas Expects Restart Of International Travel To Highly Vaccinated Countries From December
Qantas Airways Ltd is getting ready to start international travel with nations that have high vaccination rates in December this year, the premier Australian airlines said on Thursday, as the company reported a narrower annual loss of A$1.73 billion ($1.26 billion) which send its shares up.
The international fleet of the airline was grounded in March 2020 because the Covid-q9 pandemic closed borders and consequently closed down international travel. The company now plans to get back five of its 12 Airbus SE A380 super-jumbos from mid-2022 for flying to the United States and Britain which is a year earlier than was forecast by the company previously.
This development provides hopeful signs of air traveling in the Asia-Pacific region, where nations have closed down their borders resulting in international travel being reduced by 95 per cent compared to pre-pandemic levels. However, this plan of restarting of international routes clearly depends on government decisions and any fresh infection breakout of Cvoid-19 could delay the plans of the airlines.
The positive signal from the airline propped up its shares by 3.7 per cent.
Last month, the Australian government announced a calibrated reopening of its international borders after reaching a target of full vaccination of 80 per cent of its population.
Fresh Covid-19 outbreaks in Australia have placed more than half the population of the country in their homes due to lockdowns currently while a little or than 30 per cent of the population is fully vaccinated. However, according to forecasts, 80 per cent of the population can be vaccinated fully by the end of the current year as more imported doses of Covid-19 vaccines have reached the country.
Depending on decisions taken by the government, Qantas expects to start flights to nations with high vaccine rates like Singapore, Japan, the United States, Britain and hopefully New Zealand could restart from the middle of December this year.
The airlines added that it expected it would be at least April of 2022 before it can start flights to the countries that have lower vaccination rates such as Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and South Africa.
"One of the biggest unknowns is the quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated travelers entering Australia," Qantas Chief Executive Alan Joyce said. "If it's 14 days in a hotel, demand levels will be very low. A shorter period with additional testing and the option to isolate at home will see a lot more people travel."
In the third quarter of the current year, the airline will reach international capacity of 30 per cent to 40 per cent of the pre-pandemic levels and between 50 and 70 per cent in the fourth quarter, the airline forecast.
The company however has decided not to reconsider an order for up to 12 Airbus SE A350 planes, that can fly non-stop Sydney to London, till reopening of borders, and added that the earliest the flights could start would be 2024 or 2025.
"Overall, with vaccination rates continuing to increase, the outlook beyond FY22 remains positive for Qantas, which remains a key COVID recovery stock," Jefferies analyst Anthony Moulder told clients.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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