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 Airlines sets date for return to South African skies

Australia’s national carrier is set to resume operations on key routes from mid-2021, signalling reopening of the country’s borders.

qantas flights

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

South Africans will be glad to know they may be able to travel to Down Under from the middle of 2021. Qantas has said that its international flights could resume in the next six months. The airline is now accepting reservations for certain destinations from 1 July 2021.

Qantas had previously indicated it was unlikely to resume international flights until the third quarter of 2021. This came as a blow to many South Africans who want or need travel to Australia, where large numbers of South African expats now live.

Many South African travellers favour Qantas as it offers direct flight between Johannesburg and Sydney, and convenient connections to other parts of Australia and New Zealand.


Australia closed its borders to international travel in March 2020. There were and still are no scheduled commercial flights into Australia. It was thought the country may only open its borders late in 2021 due to the strict stance it took to contain the spread of COVID-19.

The fact that Qantas plans to restart its services on key international routes suggests that Australia will reopen its borders to international visitors on 1 July. This will come as good news for many South Africans who have not been able to visit family, friends or relatives in Australia since March 2020.


The roll-out of vaccines has spurred Australia’s national airline to plan the restart of its international flight schedule. COVID-19 vaccinations and preflight testing are key to helping restart international travel and to safely opening up its international borders.

Australian business traveller and premium frequent flyer website Executive Traveller quoted a Qantas spokesperson as saying:

“Qantas has aligned the selling of our international services to reflect our expectation that international travel will begin to restart from July 2021.”


Currently, Qantas only flies to one destination outside Australia — New Zealand. Both countries have managed to keep a firm grip on the spread of the coronavirus.

Qantas intended restarting flights to Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong – countries which have also managed to keep a tight check on the spread of COVID-19 – on 29 March. The airline has now scrapped these plans.  

Despite the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines in several countries, Qantas will not be operating flights to destinations where high numbers of COVID-19 infections are prevalent. The airline will not offer flights to certain destinations in the US and UK until later in 2021.

Executive Traveller quoted Qantas CEO Alan Joyce, who said this at the airline’s 2020 general meeting in October 2020:

“For some of our big destinations like the US and the UK, it’s going to need a vaccine given the high prevalence of the virus in both of those locations. But we are getting more and more confident about the opportunities and the potential for a vaccine in helping getting those operations up by potentially by the end of 2021.”


The airline is offering direct flights between Johannesburg and Sydney from 1 July. The daily flights will depart from Johannesburg at 19:10, arriving in Sydney the following day at 14:55. Flights will be operated with a Boeing 787-900 aircraft. Bookings can be done at