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Flight Centre boss says travel to New Zealand to resume by July

por Klaus Merrick (2020-06-20)


Australians itching to travel overseas once coronavirus restrictions are eased should set their sights on Vietnam, Taiwan and New Zealand according to a travel guru. 

hqdefault.jpgFlight Centre founder and CEO Graham Turner believes jet setters could fly to international destinations close to Australia by July or August. 

Mr Turner's bold claims come despite Alexandre de Juniac, chief executive of the International Air Transport Association, warning international travel would not return to normal until 2023.  

Speaking to Today on Friday morning, the Flight Centre boss admitted he did not have a 'grand plan' but quashed Mr de Juniac's three-year timeline. 

'I think there's no doubt that we will be back flying internationally probably July, August to places like New Zealand and I think it will come back bilaterally, you know, for example, Vietnam or maybe Taiwan,' Mr Turner said. 













'I would be very surprised if we're not back flying fairly normally within about nine to 12 months to most countries.'

Today host Karl Stefanovic questioned how Flight Centre was going to stay afloat during the pandemic after thousands of travellers were forced to cancel their plans.

'Look, if you look at the economic devastation, and it's not just us, but the vast majority,' Mr Turner said.






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Mr Turner explained they had about 22,000 people on their books a few months ago and the number has plummeted to about 5,000.  

He said he recognised the seriousness of the COVID-19 outbreak but stressed his concern about the economic ramifications and the need to travellers back in the air. 

'And although the health risks are high with the coronavirus and it will continue, we're not going to get rid of the coronavirus globally, I think the economic risks are also so serious,' he said.  






Speaking to Today on Friday morning, Flight Centre boss Graham Turner (right) said he would be very surprised if Australia is not back flying normally within about nine to 12 months to most countries







Mr Turner's bold claims come despite Alexandre de Juniac, chief executive of the International Air Transport Association, warning international travel would not return to normal until 2023. Pictured: A Qantas aircraft taking off from Sydney


'We do need to get back to some level of normality as quickly as possible. I think the governments have realised that.'

Mr Turner said it would not be good news if Australia's borders were to remain closed over the next year.

He said Flight Centre had reduced its monthly costs from about $230million to the $65million mark. 

Mr Turner also predicted that normal interstate flights would resume in Australia by July.  

Flight Centre in April closed more than half of its stores globally, including 40 per cent in Australia, and stood down or laid off 6,000 support and sales roles. 

The travel agency also waived its usual cancellation fees on Saturday May 2 after come under heavy criticism for charging up to $300 per booking for travel cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mr de Juniac warned the industry won't fully recover until 2023 while speaking to the ABC News Breakfast on Thursday morning. 






 Mr Turner said Flight Centre had about 22,000 people on their books a few months ago and the number has plummeted to about 5,000







Pictured: Australian residents returning from India are ushered towards waiting buses for the beginning of their 14-day mandatory quarantine


'What we have planned is to restart the industry, first by reopening domestic markets, then regional continental markets, such as Asia-Pacific, or Europe, or North America.

'At the end of 2020, the traffic should be between 50 to 55 per cent of the same level that was in place in 2019.

'So, we would lose something like half the traffic for the 2020.'

Both Australia and New Zealand currently require international arrivals to be isolated for 14 days, and the UK and Spain have also recently announced similar quarantine periods. 

Mr de Juniac said international travel cannot re-start with mandatory quarantine periods in place, but the following 14-day quarantine period was deterrant to any would-be holidaymakers.






Founder and 벳이스트축구 CEO of Flight Centre Graham Turner believes jet setters could fly to international destinations surrounding Australia by July or August


Australia's Chief Medical Officer Professor Brendan Murphy has also ruled out international travel for the foreseeable future as there is 'no clear roadmap' to reopening the nation's borders. 

He told a Senate inquiry into the government's response to COVID-19 on Wednesday that border closures remained essential to defeating the pandemic.

'I can't see, I have no vision at the moment on the current international scene where international border measures of some very strong vigour won't be necessary,' he said.

'There is no clear roadmap out of this.'

Professor Murphy said interstate and territory borders would be reopened long before overseas travel, noting COVID-19 cases were still being imported weekly through returned travellers.






Two women drag their suitcases from the airport to a bus after returning from Cambodia



ISSN: 1980-5861