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Flag carrier Qantas is remaining bullish on travel between the UK and Australia resuming before the end of the year.
The airline is standing by plans to resume flights to Britain from mid-December, along with routes to Fiji, Singapore, the United States, Canada and Japan. This is in line with the lifting of Australia’s ban on overseas travel, which was due to end on September 17 but has been pushed back three months.
“With vaccinations continuing to roll out across Australia, we are getting ready to reunite our customers with their family, friends, colleagues and favourite destinations around the globe,” read an email to its customers.
This follows news that Britain is rushing 4 million Pfizer doses to Australia, where authorities are scrambling to bolster supplies of the Covid-19 vaccine and protect the population against a rapidly spreading outbreak of the delta variant.
“Some people might say we’re being too optimistic, but based on the pace of the vaccine rollout, this is within reach and we want to make sure we’re ready,” said Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce. Currently, over 12.3 million people in Australia (60 per cent of the population) have been given their first dose of a vaccine, while 35 per cent are now double jabbed.
Scroll down for the latest updates.
Exclusive: The Pig’s new South Downs hotel might be its best yet
The Pig’s latest offering in West Sussex is the group’s seventh hotel and the first to have its own vineyard.
The lush green vines make for an arresting backdrop to this absolute beauty of a hotel, in a pocket of the South Downs National Park and encircled by a gentle curvature of fields. This is the kind of English countryside that seems immortal; the kind one can imagine Jane Austen’s characters trampling across in empire line dresses; the kind that soldiers on the Western Front would have dreamed of returning to in order to play cricket on the village green.
Qantas: Customers reassured of travel plans
In an email to its customers, Qantas has reaffirmed its commitment to resuming flights before the end of the year, despite news this week of surging cases in Australia. The statement read:
With vaccinations continuing to roll out across Australia, we are getting ready to reunite our customers with their family, friends, colleagues and favourite destinations around the globe.
Based on the current vaccination projection rates and the Australian Government’s plan for reopening borders, we are preparing for Qantas and Jetstar international flights to resume as follows:
- From mid-December 2021, between Australia and Fiji, Singapore, the United States, Japan, United Kingdom and Canada.*
- From mid-December 2021, between Australia and New Zealand in line with the anticipated restart of the trans-Tasman travel bubble.*
- From mid-February 2022 between Australia and Hong Kong.* From April 2022 onwards flights between Australia and cities including Bali, Jakarta, Manila, Bangkok, Phuket, Ho Chi Minh City and Johannesburg.*
This remains dependent on Government decisions in coming months, so we’ll keep you updated if the plans change.
All flights are subject to Government and Regulatory approval. Read the latest travel advice for Australia here.
Nearly half of businesses yet to apply for September ATOL renewal
Travel businesses due to renew their ATOL license this month, which provides financial protection for customers, are being urged to submit applications soon.
Whilst the Civil Aviation Authority understands the issues the travel industry is facing, it has a duty to protect consumers and make sure that it has complete and accurate financial information before processing a renewal.
However, more than 45 per cent of the potential 1,127 companies are yet to apply to renew their license, with the deadline of September 30 looming.
Michael Budge, Head of ATOL Licensing at the UK Civil Aviation Authority, said:
We understand the challenges the travel industry is facing, but travel companies that have yet to submit their renewals are urged to do so as soon as possible. The earlier they submit, the more we can engage and support in the licence renewal process.
We are mindful that applicants are looking for quick decisions, but reflective of the industry’s current financial challenges, things can take longer. Companies that apply late risk a delay in having their ATOL licence processed.
In numbers: The pandemic in Australia
Coronavirus cases continue to surge in Australia, which reports a 38 per cent week-on-week increase.
- Current case rate: 34.2 per 100,00
- Cases in the last seven days: 8,720
- Deaths in the last seven days: 30
- Percentage of population with single dose: 60.47
- Percentage of population fully vaccinated: 35.73
UK to send four million Pfizer vaccine doses to Australia
Britain will send four million Covid-19 vaccine doses to Australia, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced on Friday, as his country raced to halt a deadly virus outbreak.
The Australian leader said the planes delivering Pfizer vaccine doses were “on the tarmac” in the UK and would deliver “four million doses of hope” within weeks.
Australia has a steady supply of the locally produced AstraZeneca vaccine, but residents have been hesitant to take it due to rare but highly publicised instances of blood clots.
Read more on The Telegraph’s coronavirus live blog.
Almost a quarter of amber list travellers broke quarantine rules
Nearly a quarter of travellers who arrived in the UK from amber list countries broke quarantine by meeting friends, going out or failing to get fully tested.
Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) found that 23 per cent failed to comply either with the requirement to quarantine at home for 10 days or to complete PCR tests on days two and eight of their self-isolation.
Charles Hymas has the full story here.
Yesterday’s top headlines
Before we begin, let’s take a look at what happened yesterday:
- Double-jabbed travellers will not face Abu Dhabi quarantine
- Summer trips to Spain fall by 40 per cent
- P&O Cruises announces return to the Caribbean
- More than 80 per cent of arrivals ‘fully adhered to coronavirus quarantine’
- Ryanair sees rise in passenger during August
Now, on with today’s news.