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Flights to US returning in weeks

American Airlines is bringing forward the return of its non-stop Sydney-Los Angeles flights after they were suspended during the pandemic.

It originally planned to halt the service until mid-2021 but will now resume the service from November 12, with four flights per week between Sydney Airport and LAX.

But as Australia's ongoing international travel ban will still be in force, the flights will be only for those with permission to leave and re-enter Australia, Executive Traveller reported.

American Airlines' move comes despite Qantas keeping its international fleet grounded until around mid-next year.

Executive Traveller reported as Qantas codeshares on American Airlines' Sydney flights, Qantas will sell flights on the American Airlines route, and it's possible Qantas passengers whose flights were cancelled due to COVID-19 may be given the option of rebooking with American Airlines.

The Sydney-LA flights, on an American Airlines Boeing 777-300ER, will fly to LA on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays, and to Sydney on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.

By November, American Airlines will be the third major American airline serving Australia, following United Airlines flying between Sydney and San Francisco, and Delta flying between Sydney and LA.

Meanwhile, the Federal Government has extended Australia's international travel ban another three months, until December 17.

Health Minister Greg Hunt said the decision was as a result of "specialist medical and epidemiological advice provided by the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee".

"AHPPC has advised that the international and domestic COVID-19 situation continues to pose an unacceptable public health risk," he said.

"The extension of the emergency period is an appropriate response to that risk."

Currently, Australians wanting to fly are required to have a travel exemption from the Australian Border Force (ABF) or face being rejected at the airport.

There are six reasons Australian citizens and permanent residents can seek permission to leave. They are when their travel is part of the response to the COVID-19 outbreak, travel is essential for the conduct of critical industries and business, to receive urgent medical treatment not available in Australia, urgent and unavoidable personal business, compassionate or humanitarian grounds, and travel in the national interest.

Temporary visa holders are free to leave Australia at any time but it's up to the ABF Commissioner to decide if they can re-enter the country.

They are also exemptions for airline and maritime crew, New Zealanders with a Special Category (subclass 444) visa, freight workers, and people travelling for government business.

 

Originally published as Flights to US returning in weeks



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