Qantas extends international flight cancellations until end of July

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Qantas has extended the suspension of its domestic and trans-Tasman flights until the end of June and for international flights until the end of July as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Qantas announced the suspension of all international flights in late March, claiming that they would not resume until the end of May. The Australian airline has now come out and announced that international travel looks to be unlikely until at least the end of July.

The cancellation of thousands of international and domestic flights in March forced Qantas to stand down two-thirds of its 30,000-member workforce.

Employees have now been notified that they will not be returning to work until at least the end of June because of the downturn.

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said it will take years for the airline to get back to 2019 figures. Picture: Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images

In a statement, Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce expects recovery for the airline to take “years”.

“With the possible exception of New Zealand, international travel demand could take years to return to what it was,” he said.

“Australia has done an amazing job of flattening the curve and we’re optimistic that domestic travel will start returning earlier than first thought.”

“But we clearly won’t be back to pre-coronavirus levels anytime soon. With the possible exception of New Zealand, international travel demand could take years to return to what it was.”

In an announcement to the ASX, Qantas said it had secured further debt funding of $550 million that should support the airline through to the end of 2021 if the coronavirus crisis continued.

The cancellation of international flights forces passengers looking to salvage their summer Greece trip to be grounded in Australia.

Qantas planes parked on the tarmac at Sydney Airport, in Australia. Restrictions have been placed on all non-essential business and strict social distancing rules are in place across Australia in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Getty / Cameron Spencer)

Credit policy revamped after customer complaints

After receiving hundreds of customer complaints, Qantas has also overhauled its credit policy, with customers no longer be forced to use credit for cancelled flights towards an airfare of the same or greater value.

Instead, the Australian carrier will allow passengers to book multiple trips of lesser value, while customers who are booked to travel on Qantas and Jetstar flights will be able to split their travel credits from June across multiple future bookings.

‘We have listened to feedback from customers and are making changes to our backend systems so these vouchers can be used multiple times,’ a Qantas spokesperson said on Tuesday.

‘If your original booking was made prior to 30 April 2020, and you were due to travel on a Qantas flight between January 31, 2020 – September 30, 2020, your flight credit can be used across multiple future bookings.’

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