Australia’s Qantas Airways expects to resume international flights in late October

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Qantas Airways does not expect to resume international travel apart from New Zealand until late October after the Australian population is vaccinated for COVID-19, the airline’s chief executive said on Thursday.

The Sydney-based airline had been selling seats on international flights from July 1.

But there has been a huge surge in COVID-19 cases around the world since those July flights went on sale in early January, Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said. There were also new coronavirus variants emerging.

Those tickets sold for flights after July 1 and before Oct. 31 are being refunded.

“We are now planning for international travel to restart at the end of October this year in line with the day for Australia’s vaccine rollout to be effectively complete,” Joyce said.

Australia’s immunization program began this week. The government expects vaccine will be made available to anyone who wants it by October.

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