Australia could soon see travel bubbles open up with the United Kingdom and United States due to their highly-successful vaccination roll-outs, Alan Joyce has claimed.
The Qantas boss appeared at the Future of Travel Forum on Monday, claiming international travel could soon be a realistic possibility thanks to the two nations’ jab successes – but only if Australia follow their lead.
Despite infection rates being relatively high in the countries, a well-planned vaccine rollout has meant deaths have dropped dramatically.
‘We know the path to get international borders open is really the vaccine,’ he said at the event.
‘It’s our passport to get international travel going again.’
Mr Joyce identified the Pacific Islands, including Fiji and Vanuatu as the next bubble countries , claiming the USA, UK, Singapore, Taiwan and Japan are also in the pipeline.
Australia could soon see travel bubbles open up with the United Kingdom and United States due to their highly-successful vaccination roll-outs (pictured, London)
The USA is still experiencing 20,000 new cases per day but the death rate is rapidly dropping as millions receive their jabs (pictured, New York City)
Qantas say they are preparing to re-introduce flights to the Pacific, including the Solomon Islands and Tonga, following Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s admission they were in talks to introduce the new bubble.
‘We are supporting our Pacific family and the idea of a bubble that goes beyond New Zealand and Australia is a real possibility,’ he said Sunday.
Flight crews travelling from the Pacific Islands to Australia are already seeing exemptions from quarantine if they and everyone onboard show a negative coronavirus test.
The island nations have largely been unaffected by the pandemic, largely due to hard borders, but the lack of tourism has seen economies crash.
An Australian bubble could boost local businesses and provide frustrated Australians with a much-needed holiday, after borders were shut in March 2020.
Qantas are preparing to re-introduce flights to the Pacific, including Fiji (pictured) following Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s admission they were in talks to introduce a new bubble
Mr Joyce (pictured) identified the Pacific Islands, including Fiji and Vanuatu as the next bubble countries , claiming the USA, UK, Singapore, Taiwan and Japan are also in the pipeline
The Morrison government has been widely criticised by state leaders and Australians for their slow vaccine roll-out, but a successful program could see international travel return sooner than expected.
Mr Joyce says that long-haul travel is now a main topic of discussion, with the UK and USA in current discussions despite still recording 3,000 and 20,000 cases per day respectively.
‘A few months ago, I thought maybe Singapore, Taiwan and Japan would be first cabs off the list but with the great progress that’s been made in the US and the UK, you may see those markets opening up before the rest because the vaccine rollout has been so successful in both countries,’ the Qantas CEO told Nine’s on Monday.
Mr Morrison is in New Zealand holding talks with Kiwi leader Jacinda Ardern about expanding the trans-Tasman travel bubble (pictured together on Monday)
‘We’re still talking to the government about it, we’re still planning to be ready (to fly long-haul international) at the end of this calendar year.’
Mr Morrison is in New Zealand holding talks with Kiwi leader Jacinda Ardern about expanding the trans-Tasman travel bubble to include the likes of Fiji, Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands, Tonga, and East Timor.
Formal dialogue is scheduled to go ahead on Monday where both leaders are expected to hammer out the details of quarantine-free travel arrangements to other South Pacific countries.
Any travel bubble extension will be welcomed news to Australian travellers after the federal government announced during the budget that international borders are expected to remain closed until mid-2022.