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“More needs to be done” warns IATA boss on news of Australia’s opening

It’s all well and good to promise international travel, but for it to feasibly happen anytime soon, the government needs to “step up” talks with airlines and work towards scrapping arrival caps and quarantines, says the IATA boss.

When prime minister Scott Morrison announced that international travel for fully-vaccinated Australians will resume from next month, you could almost hear the country’s travel industry heave a collective sigh of relief. But we’re still a long way from resuming transmission. 


According to the PM’s office, we’re just weeks away from most of Australia moving to Phase B and then to Phase C of the National Plan to safely reopen our international borders and, importantly, to keep them open.


Under Phase C, fully vaccinated Australians (including those who legitimately cannot be vaccinated) will be able to travel, with the government anticipating states and territories eventually taking up a 7-day home quarantine program for the fully-vaxxed. 


Quarantine-free travel agreements with countries such as New Zealand are also in the works, the PM’s office said. 


The government expects the system to commence in November.


While welcoming the news, International Air Transport Association Asia Pacific Vice President Philip Goh, said that “still more can be done”.  


“Ultimately, the need to quarantine should be removed for those who are vaccinated and who test negative prior to departure for Australia,” he said. 


“We urge the Australian government to follow guidance from WHO on a risk-based approach. This includes relaxing measures and/or quarantine requirements for travellers who are fully vaccinated. And to provide alternatives for unvaccinated individuals through testing.”


Goh also said it is essential that the Australian government “steps up” its engagement with the aviation sector so that airlines prepare for the safe and efficient re-opening of Australia’s borders.

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Published: 4 October 2021

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