A travel bubble could open up new routes and certainly new opportunities for Qantas. There is a possibility of flights to South Korea and Taiwan in the first half of next year if the Covid-Safe travel Bubbles open between the countries. Qantas will adapt its airline international network to take advantage of new opportunities.
Unfortunately pending the vaccine flights to the US and London are likely to remain grounded until the end of 2021.
At the Airlines general meeting, chairman Richard Goyder said the airline will continue to monitor destinations which won’t need traveller to enter quarantine when they return to Australia. He said “Both Qantas and Jetstar are keeping a close eye on new markets that might open up as a result of these bubbles, including places that weren’t part of our pre-Covid network”. He also said, “BY early next year, we may find that Korea, Taiwan and various island in the pacific are top Qantas destinations while we wait for our core international markets like the US and UK to re-open”.
Destinations that are new, could soon be on the departure board. Goyer went on to say “adding new destinations that suddenly make sense – and it’s the kind of flexibility we need to make the most of any cash-positive opportunities in the year ahead”.
Any flights from Australia to Taiwan have previously been run by Taiwan’s China Airlines and EVA Air or with Cathay Pacific via Hong Kong. Flights between Australia to Seoul have been also been primarily run by Korean Airlines and Asiana even though Jetstar had launched flighted from the Gold Coast to Seoul in 2019. Way back in 1999 Qantas had flown to South Korea and Taiwan and even had a seasonal Brisbane-Seoul service over the northern winter in 2005-2006.
Maybe US, UK by the end of 2021!
In the words of CEO Alan Joyce regarding overseas travel and when it is set to return, especially between US and London, he said: “For some of our big destinations like the United States and the UK, it’s going to need a vaccine given the high prevalence of the virus in both of those locations”. “But he said – we are getting more and more confident about the opportunities and the potential for a vaccine in helping to get those operations up by potentially by the end of 2021”. Joyce has also reaffirmed his confidence in Project Sunrise which is an ambitious plan for non-stop flights from Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourn to Paris, London, New York, Cape Town, Frankfurt and Rio de Janeiro. It was a hard blow for Qantas when Project Sunrise was set to be given the green light only weeks before the pandemic took hold early 2020. It was planned to launch by mid-2023. Joyce said regarding the project “ We are still very keen, once we have repaired our balance sheet, on Project Sunrise which will allow us to fly from the eastern states directly to destinations around the globe. We think in a post-Covid world the business opportunities for those routes will be quite immense.”