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Flight Centre boss wants Australian interstate travel to resume next month

Flight Centre boss Graham Turner has made the radical prediction that Australians will be able to fly overseas as soon as June this year without needing to quarantine. 

The travel agent co-founder and managing director also said there was ‘no reason’ for state borders to stay closed, urging residents to start travelling interstate. 

Mr Turner argued international air travel should be given the green light once the nation’s most vulnerable people have been vaccinated for Covid. 

‘As long as the people who need to be protected are protected by vaccination, I think there’s no reason why we can’t start travelling,’ he told A Current Affair.

‘I think once people who can get sick or die get vaccinated, which should be sometime in June… there should be some international travel.’  

Flight Centre CEO Graham Turner (pictured) believes travel could begin once those most at risk have been vaccinated for coronavirus in Australia

Flight Centre CEO Graham Turner (pictured) believes travel could begin once those most at risk have been vaccinated for coronavirus in Australia

Flight Centre CEO Graham Turner (pictured) believes travel could begin once those most at risk have been vaccinated for coronavirus in Australia

The outspoken chief of the nation’s biggest travel agency said that vaccinated Australians shouldn’t need to quarantine coming back home.  

Mr Turner has been working with Qantas CEO Alan Joyce and Sydney Airport’s Geoff Culbert to create a travel plan with the federal government.  

‘With a little bit of luck, the vaccinations will make sure … any sort of risk is absolutely minimised,’ he said. 

Mr Turner said he was happy with the plan to restart domestic travel in April as a result of the vaccination rollout next month. 

He said he hoped the plan would help Aussies get a taste of domestic travel first before travelling internationally. 

Mr Joyce is less optimistic about the expected resumption of international travel, with Qantas changing its original prediction of July to October this year, in-line with the date for Australia’s vaccine rollout to be effectively complete. 

Mr Turner has been working with Qantas CEO Alan Joyce and Sydney Airport's Geoff Culbert to create a travel plan with the federal government. Pictured: Qantas plane

Mr Turner has been working with Qantas CEO Alan Joyce and Sydney Airport's Geoff Culbert to create a travel plan with the federal government. Pictured: Qantas plane

Mr Turner has been working with Qantas CEO Alan Joyce and Sydney Airport’s Geoff Culbert to create a travel plan with the federal government. Pictured: Qantas plane 

'I think once people who can get sick or die get vaccinated, which should be sometime in June... there should be some international travel,' he said in the interview (pictured)

'I think once people who can get sick or die get vaccinated, which should be sometime in June... there should be some international travel,' he said in the interview (pictured)

‘I think once people who can get sick or die get vaccinated, which should be sometime in June… there should be some international travel,’ he said in the interview (pictured)

Flight Centre's CEO said he was happy about the plan to restart domestic travel in April as a result of the vaccination rollout next month. Pictured: Nurse receiving COVID-19 vaccine

Flight Centre's CEO said he was happy about the plan to restart domestic travel in April as a result of the vaccination rollout next month. Pictured: Nurse receiving COVID-19 vaccine

Flight Centre’s CEO said he was happy about the plan to restart domestic travel in April as a result of the vaccination rollout next month. Pictured: Nurse receiving COVID-19 vaccine

Qantas also expects a two-way travel bubble with New Zealand to be operational by July. Kiwis can fly across the Tasman right now, but Australians can’t go the other way. 

The airline anticipates its domestic capacity will rise to 60 per cent of pre-Covid passenger levels in the third quarter, and to 80 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2021.

Mr Joyce hopes domestic travel will return some semblance of normalcy once premiers put an end to snap border closures as more Australians get vaccinated.

‘We’ve had very positive conversations this week with several premiers and chief ministers about how to restore confidence in borders as quickly as the health advice allows,’ he said.

‘Could we reach that point as soon as April? We think an assurance like that is worth pursuing – because it would accelerate the recovery in key parts of the economy and give many businesses, not to mention friends and families, instant certainty.’

Qantas plans for international flights to return by the end of October – as it reveals losses of $1BILLION over the past six months 

By Alana Mazzoni  

Qantas predicts international flights will return and Australia’s borders will be open by the end of October, and a New Zealand travel bubble by July.

Resuming international flights can’t come soon enough for the Flying Kangaroo as it lost just over a billion dollars in six months.

The airline suffered a $1.03 billion loss and $6.9 billion drop in revenue, down 75 per cent on the previous year, noting the half-year results covered Victoria’s extended Covid lockdown and nationwide border closures. 

About 5,300 staff were laid off, with $284 million in redundancies paid out, and the airline plans to slash another 1,200 jobs by the end of June.  

Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said he foresees international travel resuming at the end of October, in-line with the date for Australia’s vaccine rollout to be effectively complete.

The airline also expects a two-way travel bubble with New Zealand to be operational by July. Kiwis can fly across the Tasman right now, but Australians can’t go the other way.

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said he foresees international travel resuming at the end of October

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said he foresees international travel resuming at the end of October

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said he foresees international travel resuming at the end of October

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said he foresees international travel resuming at the end of October

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said he foresees international travel resuming at the end of October

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said he foresees international travel resuming at the end of October

‘Our priorities remain the safety of everyone who travels with us, getting as many people back to work as possible and generating positive cash flow to repair the balance sheet,’ he said.

‘The Covid vaccine rollout in Australia will take time, but the fact it’s underway gives us more certainty.

‘More certainty that domestic borders can stay open because frontline and quarantine workers will be vaccinated in a matter of weeks.

‘And more certainty that international borders can open when the nationwide rollout is effectively complete by the end of October.’ 

Qantas anticipates its domestic capacity will rise to 60 per cent of pre-Covid passenger levels in the third quarter, and to 80 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2021.

Mr Joyce hopes domestic travel will return some semblance of normalcy once premiers put an end to snap border closures as more Australians get vaccinated.

‘We’ve had very positive conversations this week with several premiers and chief ministers about how to restore confidence in borders as quickly as the health advice allows,’ he said.

‘Could we reach that point as soon as April? We think an assurance like that is worth pursuing – because it would accelerate the recovery in key parts of the economy and give many businesses, not to mention friends and families, instant certainty.’

Mr Joyce hopes domestic travel will return some semblance of normalcy once premiers put an end to snap border closures as more Australians get vaccinated

Mr Joyce hopes domestic travel will return some semblance of normalcy once premiers put an end to snap border closures as more Australians get vaccinated

Mr Joyce hopes domestic travel will return some semblance of normalcy once premiers put an end to snap border closures as more Australians get vaccinated

The group’s statutory loss before tax was $1.47 billion, coming on top of the $642 million provided in its 2020 full year results.

It also included a further $71 million writedown of the A380 fleet, in line with its Australian dollar market value. 

Losses were somewhat limited by the airline spending just $300 million on fuel, down from almost $2 billion, due to flying far less.

Mr Joyce said the airline’s billion dollar loss was ‘stark but not surprising’.  

‘During the half we saw the second wave in Victoria and the strictest domestic travel restrictions since the pandemic began,’ he said. 

‘Virtually all of our international flying and 70 per cent of domestic flying stopped, and with it went three-quarters of our revenue.’

Qantas, including Jetstar, flew just 4.9 billion passengers in July to December – down 83 per cent from 28.9 billion in 2019.

Just 3,000 international passengers were flown on Qantas and 503,000 on Jetstar international for the whole six months with the borders closed. 

The airline was paid $84 million by the Australian Government to conduct vital freight operations and repatriation flights for stranded Australians in Delhi, Chennai, Frankfurt, London, Paris, and Johannesburg.

Qantas said it has $4.2 billion in available cash to keep the airline afloat until domestic travel returns to pre-Covid levels and international borders open up.

Qantas said it has $4.2 billion in available cash to keep the airline afloat until domestic travel returns to pre-Covid levels and international borders open up

Qantas said it has $4.2 billion in available cash to keep the airline afloat until domestic travel returns to pre-Covid levels and international borders open up

Qantas said it has $4.2 billion in available cash to keep the airline afloat until domestic travel returns to pre-Covid levels and international borders open up

Mr Joyce said Qantas’ loyalty program still made $454 million as the vast majority of points are earned from activity on the ground.

Qantas Freight had a record result because a lack of international passenger flying created a shortage of cargo space globally.

‘These factors couldn’t overcome the massive impact of the crisis, but they have softened it,’ he said.

Mr Joyce said despite huge challenges, he believes the results show the group’s underlying strength.

‘When we had the opportunity to fly domestically, we saw significant pent-up travel demand and generated positive cash flow,’ he said.

Qantas said federal government assistance, such as JobKeeper, for which it received $459 million, helped the airline through the profound impact of travel restrictions.

Support for regional, domestic, and some international flights also helped to keep key transport links active.

 

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Source: Daily Mail Australia | World News

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