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Qantas and Jetstar reveal new starting dates for flights after roadmaps announced

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Daily flights to London – but via Darwin not Perth- are also part of the revised schedule, which also includes domestic trips sooner than planned.

Qantas and Jetstar are bringing forward the restarting of popular flight routes a month early after the New South Wales and Victorian governments revealed their roadmaps out of coronavirus lockdowns.

Flights between Victoria and NSW will now begin on November 5, earlier than the previous date of December 1.

The change is based on Victoria's reopening plan.

READ MORE: NSW reveals three-stage roadmap out of lockdown

An empty Qantas check in area at Sydney International Airport.

Regional flights within NSW will significantly increase from October 25, taking it to around 40 per cent of pre-COVID levels.

The news from Qantas comes as NSW Premier Gladys Berejilkian has unveiled a three-stage roadmap out of lockdown, with the state expected to reach the 80 per cent double-dose vaccination milestone before the end of October.

However, fully vaccinated NSW residents must now wait until that 80 per cent double-dose mark, rather than the previously touted 70 per cent milestone, to travel freely around the state.

But the carriers have delayed the restart of domestic flights between Western Australia and Victoria or New South Wales by two months to February 1, 2022, based on border assumptions.

READ MORE: NSW's three-stage roadmap to freedom explained

Qantas plane taking off

International flights are on track to restart from December 18, when Australia is expected to have reached National Cabinet's "Phase C" vaccination threshold of 80 per cent.

However, as previously flagged, Qantas will temporarily reroute its flagship Perth-London service until at least April 2022 due to border restrictions with WA.

Qantas is in talks with the Northern Territory Government and Darwin Airport to assess operating the direct London flight from Darwin during this time.

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Darwin has been used as a hub for its repatriation flights to various destinations across Europe, Asia and the Middle East over the past 12 months.

Qantas says discussions for what would be a daily Melbourne-Darwin-London service will focus on the logistics of domestic and international transit.

READ MORE: 'No-one has ever suggested that the border should be closed at Christmas'

Jetstar planes at Sydney Domestic Airport on April 22. Restrictions were placed on all non-essential business and strict social distancing rules are in place across Australia in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

If this service can't operate through Darwin, it will instead fly Melbourne-Singapore-London until at least April 2022.

A decision on the exact routing is likely to be made within the next two weeks.

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce welcomed the restart of flights due to the take up of the vaccine.

"We're now planning to ramp up flying between Melbourne and Sydney, which is usually the second busiest air route in the world, almost a month earlier than expected," Mr Joyce said.

"There are also a lot of regional destinations that will open up for the first time since June, which is great news for tourism as well as family and friends who can't wait to see each other again.

READ MORE: Victoria records 705 new coronavirus infections

"Based on our discussions with Western Australia we know their borders won't be open to New South Wales and Victoria until early next year, so we've sadly had to cancel the flying we had planned on those routes in the lead-up to Christmas.

"We will maintain a minimum service for people with permits to travel, though, as we have throughout the pandemic.

"At this stage, WA doesn't intend to open to international travel until sometime next year, so we'll unfortunately have to temporarily move our Perth-London service until at least April 2022.

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"Instead of operating from Melbourne to Perth and then on to London as it usually does, this flight will operate from Melbourne to London via either Darwin or Singapore, depending on conversations we're having with the NT in the coming weeks."

Qantas says that should the state or federal roadmaps change, and flights are cancelled, customers may be eligible for a refund, credit voucher or to change the date of their travel.

Source: 9News

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