As the main way in and out of the country, it’s fair to say Qantas is quite important to Australia, and likely in good touch with its leaders.

In the latest plot twist of a never ending odyssey, Qantas says it expects Australia to embark upon a total u-turn, and open international borders from December 2021.

Qantas has put its money where its mouth is too, scaling up early preparations and readying planes to serve a variety of routes from that date, accordingly. If this is true, it’s a wild departure from recent plans which even included keeping some quarantine facilities open through 2025!

Australia Travel Reopening Recap

Ok, let’s quickly recap the Iliad like odyssey of Australia’s border during covid-19 and how we got to the bizarre, but wildly exciting potential news piece from Qantas about Australia potentially opening in 2021, instead of 2121.

  • Australians can’t leave Australia without a permitted exemption.
  • Many citizens can’t return to Australia, due to limited flights and costs.
  • Many airlines stopped flying to Australia, due to passenger limits.
  • In July, Australia said it wouldn’t even consider opening until 2022.
  • For 2022, a 7 day home quarantine for citizens was only expected change.
  • In 2022, or 2023, Australia planned to open some travel bubbles, maybe.
  • Australia recently hired for some quarantine facilities thru 2025.

Many frustrated citizens and travelers have dubbed Australia “prison island” for the complete and total international travel lockdown, which still hasn’t managed to avoid half the country remaining in total lockdown.

That was easier to swallow when Europe and the USA was in the thick of it, but now, many countries with relatively open borders are enjoying freedoms of old, without lockdowns. Families are reconnecting, business is being conducted and tourism is pumping vital lifelines into global economies.

Critics have suggested Australia’s bizarre border twists were due to Australia’s “zero covid” strategy, which Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison recently abandoned amidst mounting pressure.

The country is now witnessing the success of vaccination drives elsewhere, and even once cautious regional partners, such as Singapore, are now expediting plans to open with haste. Australia’s catching on.

Singapore has committed to quarantine free travel bubbles, and won’t actively worry about cases during reopening, instead focusing on the overall health picture of both hospitalization and death, which is in line with the current treatment of other endemic illnesses.

Australia’s Purported New Strategy

According to a company release, Qantas believes that international borders will open in some form, from December 2021. This is based on Australia hitting 80% vaccination by this point, and no shock twists to the overall global health status in the meantime.

Qantas believes initial bubbles will include countries with strong data sharing and trust, including Canada, Fiji, Japan, Singapore, UK, the US and others. Qantas plans to focus on Asia, the USA and UK as travel reopens.

“The prospect of flying overseas might feel a long way off, especially in New South Wales and Victoria in Lockdown, but the current pace of the vaccine rollout means we should have a lot more freedom in a few months’ time,”

Alan Joyce, CEO of Qantas

Will it happen? Who knows. Qantas hoped to restart flights in October, but extreme caution from the Morrison government scuppered plans, and in fact sent the country into even tighter international lockdowns.

It’s clear, however, that pressure is beginning to mount on government, as business leaders outline the worst case scenarios of a country without travel and trade amid fresh data showing just how effective vaccines are in preventing worst outcomes.

Maybe that Australia trip isn’t a total write off, yet.

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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13 Comments

  1. Fake News. Perth will not be open for travel in December. Our State Leader Mark McGowan is keeping our borders closed tight to protect us from COVID. Even at 80% vaccination rates he will not allow WA to have COVID in our community. Sorry mate but it will be well into 2022 before any form of travel will be allowed into Australia.

    1. There hasn’t been a plan to erase Covid-19 so it isn’t going anywhere. It would still be around in 2022 and beyond…. So I guess WA will be closed indefinitely, while rest of Australia along with the rest of world enjoy life. Idiots!!!

      1. WA residents are far from being idiots. We have great mineral and agricultural wealth and can go it alone until there is better control of COVID. WA is currently propping up the economy of NSW while it battles a COVID outbreak. We have been COVID free since the start while the rest of the world struggles to contain outbreaks. Who really are the idiots? Not WA, that’s for sure.

        1. What do you think is going to happen: it’s going to just ‘go away’?
          Maybe you think once your TV stops talking about the virus it will be gone? Do you think in the absence of today’s communication tech this would have been an extinction-level event?
          AA56, you are deluded and your leaders are too. Mommy can’t protect you from this virus. It’s here to stay despite your rabbit-proof-fence mentality. You are the reason why only civil disobedience will end this tyranny — you are tyranny’s cheerleader. Perhaps you are German?
          Come back here once everyone has had the virus and let us know how wrong you were.

          1. I am a very proud and born Australian living a COVID FREE lifestyle in lovely Perth. Mark McGowan and his army of followers will crush and destroy the virus and any civil disobedience. For the record. I care for my Mum who has dementia not the other way around.

      2. We’re very self sustainable with our great wealth. We will continue to enjoy our lifestyle while the border is firmly shut to outsiders.

  2. What a pity WA failed to implement its successful but unimplemented 1933 State referendum when it voted to secede from the rest of the country. The state’s alleged so-called ‘wealth’ belongs to Australia as a sovereign nation, not WA. If WA continues with its isolationist policy (same as with North Korea) using COVID-19 as the excuse, the rest of the country would be better off without it. It’s dictatorial government overlooks the fact that it’s better to live on your feet than to die on your knees.

    1. We will follow our State leader Mark McGowan to protect our COVID FREE lifestyle and keep the border firmly shut to outsiders so we remain COVID FREE. WA residents support this policy.

  3. Some WA residents – perhaps even the majority – may currently support McGowan’s stance, but there will inevitably come a time when government policy based on the notion of “zero Covid” will not only become unrealistic but untenable for the majority of the population. No more jobs or holidays abroad, no nothing. Hiding away in a couple of borderline-irrelevant cities in self- or government-imposed isolation from the rest of the world is unsustainable and somewhat self-obsessed.

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