Australia’s Qantas Airways will resume flights to London and Los Angeles in mid-November, a month earlier than initially scheduled.
The airline made the change after the Australian government announced plans to reopen the country’s borders to fully vaccinated citizens and permanent residents within weeks.
Beginning Sunday, Nov. 14, Qantas will offer flights between Sydney and London five times per week and between Sydney and Los Angeles three times per week. The London route was initially scheduled to run just three times per week, but the airline added flights to meet high demand.
Sydney-London flights, which include a stopover in Darwin, will leave Sydney at 6:30 p.m. on Sundays, Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays and arrive in London at 6:50 a.m. the following day.
London-Syndey flights will depart London at 9:50 a.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays and arrive in Sydney at 7:05 p.m. the following day.
Planes flying the Sydney-Los Angeles route will leave Sydney at 10:25 p.m. on Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays and touchdown in Los Angeles at 5 p.m. the same day.
Aircraft flying the reverse route will depart Los Angeles at 8:30 p.m. on Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays and land in Sydney at 6:20 a.m. two days later.
Qantas plans to offer daily service to both London and Los Angeles by mid-December.
Australia closed its borders in March 2020 and has maintained one of the world’s strictest travel restriction policies ever since, even placing a quota on the number of its own citizens that can return from overseas.
As a result, Qantas has been forced to ground most of its international flights for the past year and a half.
After hearing Australia may reopen its borders before the end of the year, the carrier made tentative plans to resume international flights in mid-December.
However, on Oct. 1, the government said it could start reopening its borders as early as November, prompting the airline to move its relaunch forward a month.
The first phase of the reopening will only apply to Australian citizens and permanent residents. However, Australia is expected to open its borders to travelers from countries with high vaccination rates in the near future.