Qantas ready to fly when state borders open

Qantas says it will be ready to fly again the moment the states and territories lift their border restrictions.

Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said the company was planning to be operational for a possible lift in border restrictions in July.

“There is a possibility that we might have nearly all the states opening up as early as July and we’re planning for that,” Joyce said.

“We don’t think we’ll go back to 100 per cent honestly in July but we have the capability to easily add 40 to 50 per cent of the capacity that we had before Covid-19 in that month and then a ramp up even further every other month.”

The airline has also ramped up its hygiene measures to improve cleanliness both on-board their flights and before passengers enter an aircraft.

Rather than adopting a staggered seating arrangement, Qantas will issue facemasks to all its passengers. Other measures include contactless check-in and physical distancing at airports and in lounges.

“We’re relying on the co-operation of passengers to help make these changes work for everyone’s benefit and we thank them in advance for that,” Joyce said.

“Given the great job Australians have done at flattening the curve we’re confident they’ll respond positively to these temporary changes to how we fly.”

Qantas medical director Dr Ian Hosegood said the risk of catching Covid-19 on an aircraft was “extremely low”.

“That’s due to a combination of factors, including the cabin air filtration system, the fact people don’t sit face-to-face and the high backs of aircraft seats acting as a physical barrier,” he said.

“Social distancing on an aircraft isn’t practical the way it is on the ground, and given the low transmission risk on board, we don’t believe it’s necessary in order to be safe.”