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Australia's Qantas aims to resume foreign flights in December

Airline to fly to 'COVID-safe' places if 80% of country's adults are vaccinated

The Qantas group made a net loss of 1.73 billion Australian dollars ($1.25 billion) in the year ended in June this year as Australia has kept its borders closed since March 2020 due to the pandemic.    © Reuters

SYDNEY (Kyodo) -- Australia's Qantas Airways, which also owns budget carrier Jetstar, said on Thursday it plans to resume international flights from mid-December, on the assumption that 80% of the country's adults are fully vaccinated by then.

Flights are set to restart between Australia and "COVID-safe destinations," which are likely to include Japan, the United States and Britain, the Qantas Group said in a statement.

The airline also hopes to resume a quarantine-free travel corridor between Australia and New Zealand, which had allowed mutual visits between the countries freely amid the coronavirus pandemic, by mid-December.

The "travel bubble" arrangement was suspended in late June following a fresh outbreak of the Delta variant across several Australian states, though the suspension was temporarily lifted for some states at the beginning of July.

International travel in and out of Australia has been almost completely suspended since March 2020, under the nation's strict pandemic border controls.

However, as the country's vaccine rollout picks up pace, current projections see Australia reaching the 80% vaccination threshold the government set for reopening borders in December, prompting the response by the airline.

The Qantas group also announced Thursday a net loss of 1.73 billion Australian dollars ($1.25 billion) for the 2020 fiscal year ending in June, bringing the total revenue loss from COVID-19 border closures to AU$16 billion.

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