Direct flight options between SA and Australia on hold until late 2021

SAA and Qantas were the only two airlines operating direct flights between South Africa and Australia until March, but SAA was forced to suspend all operations until funding could be obtained.

Meanwhile, Australia’s national carrier, Qantas, also suspended flights to South Africa as a result of Australia’s strict coronavirus travel ban, which was projected to continue until March 2021.

Australia’s borders are still closed and Qantas has again postponed the restart of direct flights to several international destinations — including South Africa. Qantas has cancelled its direct flights between Sydney and Johannesburg until late October 2021.

QANTAS RELEASES SCHEDULE UP TO OCTOBER 2021

Qantas has updated its schedule for the coming year. The recently released schedule indicates that flights to certain international destinations will not be operational for almost another whole year.

Flights to key destinations where a number of Australia’s migrant families originate from, have been affected.

South Africa, the UK and US are countries that Australia’s national airline will not be operating flights to until late October 2021.

“Qantas has temporarily stopped selling some international routes until the end of October 2021 due to market uncertainty and ongoing government restrictions,” Qantas said in a recent statement about its summer schedule for 2021.

Perth
With SAA grounded, there will also be no direct flights between Johannesburg and Perth for the foreseeable future. Image: Adobe Stock

DIRECT FLIGHTS TO PERTH NOT OPERATIONAL

SAA operated flights to Perth, Western Australia, until the airline suspended all operations in March.

With SAA being grounded under a business rescue process, there will also be no direct flights between Johannesburg and Perth for the foreseeable future.

SA COMMUNITIES IN AUSTRALIA AFFECTED

Australia is home to a large community of South African expats. Many South Africans live in Perth and Sydney.

Qantas’s direct flights to Johannesburg provided an integral link for South Africans living in both countries.  

The delay of Qantas’s flights comes as bad news to South Africans who were planning to visit family members in Australia in 2021.

Qantas’s direct flights between Johannesburg and Sydney are the most convenient way for South Africans to travel to the East coast of Australia.

SOUTH AFRICANS IN NEW ZEALAND ALSO IMPACTED

New Zealand is also home to numerous communities of South African expats. As there are no direct flights between New Zealand and South Africa, Qantas’s connecting flights via Sydney were extremely popular with passengers travelling between South Africa and New Zealand.

The delay of Qantas’s flights will also affect passengers needing to travel between South Africa and New Zealand. Qantas’s flights via Sydney proved to be the fastest and most convenient option for travel between South Africa and New Zealand.

New Zealand
The delay of Qantas’s flights will also affect passengers between South Africa and New Zealand. Image: Adobe Stock

TRAVEL BUBBLES ON CARDS FOR AUSTRALIA

Qantas has indicated it may start flying to particular destinations if and when travel bubbles are instituted between Australia and specific states considered to be low-risk destinations.

Flights to certain destinations in the Asia Pacific region are under consideration. Travel bubbles might open up between Australia and certain destinations in the region, including New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, Fiji and New Caledonia, in the coming months.

QANTAS APPEALS TO AFFECTED PASSENGERS

Qantas is appealing to affected passengers to convert their cancelled flight tickets to travel credits as opposed to applying for refunds.

Travel credits can be used against the purchase of future Qantas flights until the end of 2021.