Flight Centre’s top boss Graham Turner said “it’s more and more likely” that the people of NSW will be able to fly to the United Kingdom before visiting Cairns.
Mr Turner told The Daily Telegraph that he expected London would be the first international destination available from Sydney, which is poised to be some time in November.
Under Britain’s existing rules, visitors from ‘green list’ countries including Australia are not required to enter quarantine as long as they have been COVID-tested in the three days before they arrive, and again on day two in the country.
Mr Turner also reiterated the federal government’s suggestions that returning travellers will not have to undertake the current mandatory $3,000 hotel quarantine, but rather, isolate at home for somewhere between two to five days.
On Thursday Prime Minister Scott Morrison said “we want to have home quarantine as the primary and viable method for quarantine and the widespread option for people who are travelling or living overseas and wishing to return to Australia.”
Mr Turner said it would be harder for Queensland and the rest of Australia to reconnect with the world.
“NSW has nothing to lose,” Mr Turner said. “They’ve got the infection. It doesn’t matter that they bring in more.”
He also predicts that Emirates were likely to offer flights before Qantas as the airline has been already operating routes at drastically reduced capacity.
Qantas earlier this month revealed that it would be resuming international flights from December 18. But a spokesperson from the airline told The Daily Telegraph that it was working to accelerate its international flight resumption.
It is understood NSW will get clearance for takeoff when 80 per cent of the state’s eligible population has had two jabs.
Mr Turner said he expected that before Christmas it should also be possible to fly to mainland Europe, the US, Canada, Singapore and Fiji.
Next month the federal government will introduce an international vaccination certificate to present at foreign borders and when returning home.
The certificate will be available digitally and in printed form, from the passport office or the myGov website.
In terms of domestic travel, Qantas is anticipating that Victoria will be the first state to open up to local travel from NSW from early December. Western Australia is likely to be the last to drop its restrictions.
Any bubble agreement Canberra strikes with NSW is expected to ensure there is no extra barrier with vaccinated parents travelling with children who are too young to be inoculated.