All Qantas international flights have been cancelled until October with the exception of services to New Zealand.

October 24 marks the switch to the northern winter 2020 airline schedule period.

A spokesman for the Australian carrier said: “With Australia’s borders set to remain closed for some time, we have cancelled most international flights until late October.

MoreSocial distancing on aircraft ‘not practical’, Qantas claims

“We still have some flights scheduled across the Tasman in the coming months, with the expected travel bubble between Australia and New Zealand.”

The airline referred to comments from Australia’s tourism minister Simon Birmingham for its announcement, the BBC reported.

Birmingham said on Wednesday that the decision to shut the country’s border was one of the main reasons Australia had been successful in fighting the spread of Covid-19 and it would not be reopened any time soon for general travel. 

“I do sadly think that in terms of open tourist-related travel in or out of Australia, that remains quite some distance off,” he told the country’s National Press Club.

When asked whether that would mean the border would remain closed until next year, Birmingham replied: “I think that is more likely the case”.

He said: “I hope that we can look eventually at some of those countries who have similar successes in suppressing the spread of Covid to Australia and New Zealand, and in working … with those countries to find safe pathways to deal with essential business travel that helps to contribute to jobs across our economies.”

But international students could be allowed back into the country sooner, as long as they are prepared to serve out a two-week quarantine period.

“There is a certain logic that extends to say that international students and other categories of visitors to Australia who stay here for a longer period of time can more easily be accommodated because we can simply work through the 14-day quarantine periods that have worked so well in terms of returning Australians to this country safely to date,’’ Birmingham said.

MoreSocial distancing on aircraft ‘not practical’, Qantas claims