Sydney, Australia. Image: Adobe Stock

Forget about Australia: Qantas suspends SA route until next April

In a recent statement, Australia’s national carrier said it would not be resuming flights between Sydney and Johannesburg until April next year.


Sydney, Australia. Image: Adobe Stock

While a handful of destinations have opened up to vaccinated South Africans, there is still no movement on the Australia front.

This is more unwelcome news for South Africans who are eager to visit family and friends in Australia after being unable to do so since March last year. Australia is home to large South African communities. Many South African ex-pats live in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth.

Qantas first said it would resume flights to South Africa in July this year, then pushed back the restart date to 31 October. This was just recently changed to December. The airline has now said that it will not restart flights on the Sydney -Johannesburg route until 2022.


According to Tourism Update, a press release from Qantas states that the plan for the restart of international routes is linked to the vaccine roll-out in Australia and key overseas destinations.

Tourism Update states that Australia should reach the critical threshold of 80% of its adult population being fully vaccinated in December this year, enabling the country to gradually begin reopening its international borders.


Qantas indicates that it will restart operations to destinations that have higher vaccination figures first. Qantas’s key markets including the United Kingdom, North America and parts of Asia will be most likely to see the earliest resumption of Qantas’ scheduled flights.

Destinations with high and increasing vaccination levels, are most likely to be classed as low-risk countries for Qantas. From mid-December 2021, flights should resume to ‘COVID-safe destinations’, which are likely to include Singapore, United States, Japan, United Kingdom and Canada.

Flights between Australia and New Zealand will be on sale for travel from mid-December 2021, on the basis that the two-way bubble between the two countries restarts.


Countries with low levels of vaccination will be last to see the restoration of flights by the Australian national carrier.

“Destinations that still have low vaccine rates and high levels of COVID infection will now be pushed out from December 2021 until April 2022 – including Bali, Jakarta, Manila, Bangkok, Phuket, Ho Chi Minh City and Johannesburg,” Qantas said. 

Tourism Update states that South Africa’s vaccination rate currently stands at 23% of the adult population. This figure will need to increase significantly in order for Australia to review its classification of South Africa.

If Australia does allow the resumption of Qantas’ flights to these destinations it is highly likely that there will be mandatory hotel quarantine requirements for all passengers arriving from these destinations.