Jetstar Asia is going ahead to prepare service resumptions from Singapore to Darwin and Melbourne, possibly as soon as mid-December this year, based on a travel corridor that is supposed to take flight by then.
The low-cost carrier joins sister airline Qantas which had already outlined its route to restarting international flights since last month, also looking at a 18 December target.
However, trade bodies report low visibility in terms of government direction, which is stalling hopes of making it onto the runway by late December.
Said Qantas Group CEO, Alan Joyce, "People are clearly keen to travel. We saw a 175% spike in web searches in the week after we announced our plans and we’ve seen strong bookings for December and January for our flights to London, Los Angeles and Singapore in particular."
Travellers from Australia to Singapore must take a Covid-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test within 48 hours before departure, and another test also upon arrival, on top of a seven-day stay-home notice.
Another PCR test needs to be taken at the end of the stay-home notice.
Australia Federal Tourism Minister Dan Tehan had publicly shared in early September that there are plans for a bubble with Singapore "ready to go" by end 2021.
This will be entirely dependent on Australia's national 'vaccination' plan, where 80% of its adult population are fully vaccinated in order to move towards a "gradual reopening of inward and outward international travel with safe countries," as well as "proportionate quarantine and reduced requirements for fully vaccinated inbound travellers".
The tourism minister confirmed the above recently on 22 September while at a National Press Club of Australia event.
Talks are also in place to secure travel bubbles with specific countries to reduce quarantine time, while the trans-Tasman travel bubble with New Zealand, currently suspended, is also expected to relaunch in December.
Australia has launched a new app to authenticate cross-border digital health certificates. Photo Credit: Apple Store
While details are being ironed out, Australia has also rolled out a new iPhone application this week, allowing local border officials to scan international Covid-19 vaccination QR code certificates — which the federal government will begin issuing from 1 October.
Called the 'VDS-NC Checker', the technology will be able to scan both vaccination and testing certificates issued by Australia, displaying also the traveller's biodata.
The official Australian Passport Office notes that the checker is compatible with digital wallets and with Covid-19 travel apps such as the IATA TravelPass.
Future updates will authenticate certificates issued by other countries, also acting as a stop gap measure if a unified, global digital border pass is not agreed upon in time for the resumption of international travel.