News Alerts

20 Feb 2020 | 11:34 AM UTC

Australia: Qantas and Jetstar reduce flights across Asia amid fall in demand February 20 /update 5

Australia News Alert

Qantas and Jetstar to reduce flights throughout Asia and the Pacific due to coronavirus-driven drop in demand February 20; confirm flight reservations

TIMEFRAME expected from 2/20/2020, 12:00 AM until 5/20/2020, 11:59 PM (Australia/Melbourne). COUNTRY/REGION Australia

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On Thursday, February 20, the Qantas Group announced that its airlines, including Qantas and Jetstar, will be reducing flights throughout Asia and the Pacific due to a fall in demand amid the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Qantas' international flight capacity will be cut by roughly 16 percent and Jetstar's flights by 14 percent, largely impacting flights to Japan, Thailand, mainland China, and Hong Kong. Roughly five percent of flights will be cut between Australia and New Zealand, and two percent of domestic Australian flights will also be canceled. These disruptions are expected to last until at least May 2020. 

The Qantas Group stated it would contact travelers with reservations on affected flights to offer alternate options.

Seperately, as of Saturday February 1, Qantas has suspended flights to and from mainland China.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced on Thursday that the current travel restrictions on foreigners from mainland China due to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak will be extended to Saturday, February 29. Travelers from or transiting through China will continue to be restricted from entering Australia, except for returning Australian nationals and permanent residents. However, Australian nationals and permanent residents will be required to self-isolate for 14 days. The measures will continue to be reviewed every week.

As of February 20, there are 15 confirmed cases in Australia. Further international spread of COVID-19 is expected in the coming days and weeks. 


The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in 30 countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On February 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that the COVID-19 outbreak is a "very grave threat."

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.


Potentially impacted travelers are advised to monitor the situation, confirm travel itineraries, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities and their home governments.

To reduce the general risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by using alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water
  • When coughing and sneezing cover mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue - throw tissue away immediately and wash hands
  • If you have fever, cough, and difficulty breathing seek medical care early and share previous travel history with your health care provider
  • Adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities and their home governments

In the case that symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness emerge either during or after travel, travelers are encouraged to seek medical attention and share their travel history with their health care provider. Travelers returning from China who develop symptoms of pneumonia are advised to call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to avoid potential spread of the disease.


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