The short answer?....Maybe.
Like most people, I got very very excited when Qantas recently announced they are going to start flying internationally again late this year. Amongst the excitement there was also a little bit of deja vu...
Does anyone remember this:
This is one of 3 previous press releases that have given a date for re-starting international travel. Obviously, all of these dates have come and gone and we are still living under the strictest travel restrictions Australia has ever seen.
But....... I think this time it may actually happen.
With the vaccination rate in Australia finally starting to show some serious momentum, and the economic and social pressure mounting on the government, the case for opening the borders grows stronger with each day. The other factor that I consider to be a huge motivator is that 2022 is an election year. I dont think Scott Morrison will be willing to head into an election with the country in lockdown. Like him or not, I think he is smarter than that and will play the game he believes he needs to, so that he can maintain his seat at the table.
What does this mean for travel? Good question! Currently there are a heap of flights being offered for later this year, that are already beginning to sell out. This includes routes that we haven't seen during the pandemic including LA - Melbourne and Singapore to Cairns. These traditionally popular routes have been noticeably absent over the last 18 months and so their return will be welcomed with open arms. Saying that, what happens if we see the NSW outbreak spread across the nation, and the borders remain closed? The answer is a whole bunch of people that are booked onto these newly returning routes, that become very disappointed, and potentially financially out of pocket, when the airline makes the decision to delay the resumption of these routes.
At this stage, my advice to people wanting to travel is to book flights with airlines that have been reliable throughout the pandemic, and resist the allure of the new returning routes. If a route is currently flying, the chances of it continuing are FAR greater than that chance of a new route beginning.
Let me know your thoughts, its a very interesting time to be an agent and I am excited to see what the future holds!