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Queensland citizens may need to board international flights via Sydney and Melbourne

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Queensland residents can not expect international flights to increase until future COVID-19 restrictions become clearer and there is a set deadline for quarantine travel, industry leaders say.

The Australian Federation of Travel Agents, the Australian Airlines Board of Representatives and the Brisbane Airport Corporation say airlines cannot commit to relocating or deploying international flights in or out of Brisbane due to ongoing uncertainty about border closures. , quarantine and testing requirements for COVID-19.

A spokesman for Tourism Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said the Queensland Vaccine Plan to reunite families “clearly states” that once 90 per cent of Queenslanders aged 16 and over are fully vaccinated, there will be no border restrictions or quarantine requirements for newcomers. fully vaccinated.

On Thursday, Prime Minister Annastacia Palaszczuksuk said the government was still “watching” the 90 per cent increase in vaccination rate “around the beginning of January”, but that it would depend on how quickly the 80 per cent double-dose target would be reached. .

But infectious disease expert Paul Griffin said it was still unclear when or if Queensland would reach 90 per cent due to continued vaccine reluctance, despite being a realistic target.

Travelers want ‘clarity’

The executive director of the Australian Airlines Board of Representatives, Barry Abrams, said the airlines did not have clear guidelines regarding testing and quarantine arrangements, nor did they have a strong reopening date.

“Since we have sought every jurisdiction, we want clarity on the arrangements, we need as much consistency as possible, we effectively do not want to operate in five different countries when we come to Australia,” he said.

“Finally we are after a strong meeting [for quarantine-free travel], and then we also need to know the details of how the agreements will work in practice. “

Abrams said the industry needed clarity about the requirements, including about COVID-19 testing on arrival, restrictions on passengers entering certain locations such as care for the elderly, what self-isolation measures would be in place for 13- to 17-year-olds, and international air crew. .

“If the industry says it needs more clarity, they are saying it because it’s important, instead of telling the industry that it has that clarity. The other option is to say we can meet the industry and to understand what is needed and how to address it. “

Fear of not being able to go home

The chief executive of the Australian Federation of Travel Agents, Dean Long, said it was very difficult for carriers to operate outside Brisbane because of the border stay.

He said anyone traveling from Queensland will have to travel through New South Wales and Victoriato to access international flights mainly due to generally reduced demand.

Mr Long said the peak body recently surveyed more than 600 people and found that the two main obstacles to travel were people’s concern that they would not be able to return home and the lack of information provided by governments around the world. .

In a statement, Brisbane Airport said uncertainly about the date of the reopening of the border, the airlines could not “afford to commit to services at Brisbane Airport” and that companies were choosing to take the planes to markets where they knew they could shisnin bileta.

“With Sydney and Melbourne now open for quarantine trips, they are clearly a priority,” the statement said.

“We are also competing with every other airport and travel market in the world and many of them are open now, so airlines are putting their planes where they can make money.”

Recently, Emirates Vice President for Australasia Barry Brown estimated that flights to Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney will not return to 2019 levels until at least 2023.

Mr Hinchliffe’s spokesman said New South Wales and Victoria had already achieved their full vaccination targets of 90 per cent, while the Queensland average was around 75 per cent.

“As soon as 90 per cent of all Queensland residents are fully vaccinated, the sooner the state can welcome fully vaccinated international visitors again and revitalize Queensland’s tourism industry,” the spokesman said.

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