Qatar Airways Brisbane flights will continue until March next year. Doha-Auckland is their marathon non-stop service clocking at 14,535km. The Singapore Airlines non-stop Singapore-Newark/New York route is longer.
It was earlier this year that Qatar Airways pulled out of Auckland. This was due to the impact of COVID-19 and government border restrictions. It resumed some flights in August which operated via Brisbane, but this was due to conclude on 23rd October 2020. It will now continue 3 times a week until 27th March 2021. The aircraft is used an Airbus A350-1000. Business-class passengers can book the Q suites which offer the privacy of a closing door at each seat. Some seats even have the ability to form a double bed between two seats. A private social zone can be created between a group of 4.
Passengers without an existing reservation can purchase tickets into Brisbane and Auckland from 18th December 2020. Before this date primarily travellers will be those with existing bookings whose journey has been impacted because of government restrictions. Booking an outbound flight is more readily available. But Australian residents will still need government exemption to leave the country. Flights are not available between Brisbane and Auckland.
Auckland – Doha Returns
The daily non-stop service that existed prior to COVID-19 will resume flights between Doha and Auckland from 28th March 2021. The Boeing 777-200LR with Business class Q suites will be the plane of choice. This will be appreciated by passengers as it’s a 17 hour 50-minute flights from Auckland to Doha and then Doha to Auckland is 16.5 hours. Qatar is not selling flights beyond 27th March 2021between Brisbane and Doha. Though they have requested a ‘reasonable increase’ to its Australian traffic rights.
If granted we could see an ongoing daily Brisbane service.
Australia’s International Travel Ban – Until at Least Late 2021
There may be an exception with travel bubbles to COVID free countries. Otherwise, overseas travel may be on hold until this time next year as Australia’s international borders will more than likely remain closed until late 2021. Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said this week in Canberra “International travel, including by tourists and international students, is assumed to remain largely closed off until late next year and then gradually return over time, and a vaccine to be available around the end of 2021 is one of the assumptions in the budget”. He went on to say “We have taken every step possible to give Australia the best possible chance to get a vaccine”. Our Prime Minister Scott Morrison has pledged that the vaccine will be free for all Australians.
As some countries bring the pandemic under control we will see a ‘travel bubble’ formed through bilateral agreements with New Zealand, Singapore, Japan and Taiwan. This would mean that Australians could travel to these countries for business or holidays without undergoing mandatory quarantine. COVID tests would be required upon arrival and probably prior to the trip. IATA chief Alexandre de Juniac said “The key to restoring the freedom of mobility across borders is systematic COVID-19 testing of all travellers before departure as this will give governments the confidence to open their borders without complicated risk models that see constant changes in the rules imposed on travel. Testing all passengers will give people back their freedom to travel with confidence. And that will put millions of people back to work”.
Even though at the moment many countries allow Australians to enter, permission from federal authorities is needed by Australians to go overseas and it is still a requirement for returning residents to do a 14 day hotel isolation period which costs the traveller upwards of $3,000.