qantas flights

International airlines are taking advantage of demand by launching three new flights that will come into effect this month. Image: Adobe Stock

Qantas delays restart: Forget about flights to Australia until 2022

Australia’s national airline Qantas has suspended flights between South Africa and Australia possibly until late December this year…or even 2022.

qantas flights

International airlines are taking advantage of demand by launching three new flights that will come into effect this month. Image: Adobe Stock

While several airlines are beginning to resume their South African flight schedules and a number of countries including France, Spain and Germany have now reopened their borders to vaccinated South Africans, there is still little progress on the Australian front.

Qantas had previously indicated that it hoped to restart scheduled flights to South Africa in October this year.

As October draws closer and there has been no change in policy regarding the opening up of Australia’s international borders, Qantas has said that it will not be restarting scheduled flights until 20 December 2021 — at the very earliest — but that this date is subject to change.


Australia’s slow rollout of vaccines has delayed reaching of herd immunity in the country. This is contributing to the extended delays in that country’s border reopening. Australia is reported to have low vaccination rates due to risks posed by vaccines used in its vaccination programme.

“While there are ample supplies of locally manufactured AstraZeneca, many Australians are concerned about the slight risk of blood clots associated with the vaccine and are instead requesting Pfizer, the only alternative registered in Australia,” Euronews reported.


Qantas previously indicated that it intended to resume flights between Australia and South Africa from 31 October 2021. The airline has been accepting flight reservations on its Johannesburg route from this date onward.

Qantas will not be able to honour these bookings as no flights will be operated on the route until 20 December, at this stage.

“Our Johannesburg-Sydney flight has been pushed out from October to December, as the borders remain closed. We continue to monitor the system and to update as necessary. It is still unclear when borders will fully reopen,” Michi Messner, Regional Manager for Qantas Airways told Tourism Update.


It is likely that Qantas will not making a comeback to South Africa until next year. This is due to the slow progress in vaccination in that country. This forces the airline into having to delay international flight schedules again.

The Federal Government has revised its anticipated timeline for the completion of Australia’s vaccine roll-out to the end of 2021 and its timeline for significantly reopening international borders to mid-2022. In light of these two dates the Qantas Group will adjust its planned international flight relaunch from the end of October 2021 to late December 2021,” said the airline in a statement.


Passengers with reservations for the period 31 October to 19 December have a number of options open to them.

Qantas’ ‘Fly Flexible’ policy is applicable to all international bookings made between 25 February 2021 and 28 February 2022, for travel between 1 November 2021 and 31 December 2022. This policy allows free date changes or the option to retain the value of the ticket in credit for future travels.