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SYDNEY — The boss of Qantas believes it could be a matter of months before international travel is back on the cards for Australians. After Federal Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham teased the idea of opening the country’s borders early next year, the national airline’s CEO Alan Joyce says he is optimistic about the swift return of international travel.

Speaking to Sunrise this morning, Mr. Joyce said a travel bubble between Australia and New Zealand could be only a few months away.

“We’ve always believed that there’s the possibility of these bubbles between nations,” he said.

“I think New Zealand the way we’re going in Australia could open in the new year in both directions. That’s a massive market for everybody and then as the vaccine is rolled out around the world and Australia there should be the opening up of borders more so.”

Mr. Joyce’s comments will be welcome news to Australians desperate to see family or friends or finally visit an overseas destination.

Mr. Birmingham has pinned overseas travel on the effectiveness of coronavirus vaccines.

“Then, of course, the manufacturing rollout, distribution, uptake, all the other factors that come into how it is that a vaccine could change the way we look at things around this pandemic,” he told News' Sunday Agenda program.

“It's not impossible ... I think the first half may be challenging.”

Qantas stood down 30,000 staff during the pandemic, some of whom were instead offered a temporary job as parcel deliverers or supermarket workers.

But Mr. Joyce said the opening of international borders would put many airline staff back in work.

“We’ve always planned that from July of next year we’ll start reactivating our long haul international aircraft and get a lot of people back to work,” he said.

Mr. Joyce said that demand for international travel was clear after Jetstar sold about 120,000 tickets in 24 hours for travel post-February.

“We are assuming that Queensland will open up and, given how well Victoria and NSW are handling COVID-19, there should be absolutely no reason why that decision isn‘t made at the end of this month.

“I want to see all Australians around the country being able to get together for Christmas, and I think psychologically and socially that is a very important thing.”#
Via (Perth Now)
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