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CEO’s hint for overseas travel return

While many of us are hanging out for even just a holiday in our own backyard, there’s no denying Australians are eager to find out when – and if – we will be able to fly overseas in 2021.Airline CEOs predict 2023 as being the year to see 2019 levels of overseas travel, while July…

While many of us are hanging out for even just a holiday in our own backyard, there’s no denying Australians are eager to find out when – and if – we will be able to fly overseas in 2021.

Airline CEOs predict 2023 as being the year to see 2019 levels of overseas travel, while July 2021 has been tipped as the start date for the major carriers to begin their international network again.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison says international borders will be closed until December, with overseas flights highly unlikely until well into next year.

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But Flight Centre CEO Graham Turner has an optimistic forecast for when we should dust off our passports, and it’s much sooner than previously tipped.

Speaking to ABC Breakfast on Monday, Mr Turner said we may be flying as early as the new year providing one target can be met.

“Assuming we get good at contact tracing and assuming other countries do as well, it (international travel) will come back in the new year,” he said.

“We should be back to significant international travel about the middle of next year. Qantas is starting their international flights again, probably in July, obviously there is a lot of water to flow under the bridge between now and then. But that’s the best guess at the moment.”

Mr Turner said the first hurdle will be bringing domestic back by lowering state and territory borders.

“Then point-to-point international (will return) and finally, probably within a year, quite widespread international travel will be back,” he said.

Mr Turner’s comments come as the world sees the biggest single-day spike in global coronavirus cases on record.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has reported more than 300,000 infections in the past 24 hours. In the UK alone, there were nearly 7000 new cases over the weekend, forcing Prime Minister Boris Johnston to introduce new restrictions in an attempt to reverse that trend.

Cases appear to be surging in Indonesia, Austria and the Czech Republic, where there have been four days of record daily infection rises in the past week.

According to the latest statistics, WHO said the biggest increases were from India, the US and Brazil, while deaths rose by 5537 to a total of 917,417.

Meanwhile, Israel will enter a three-week nationwide lockdown starting on Friday to contain the spread of the coronavirus after a second-wave surge of new cases.

From Friday, Israelis will have to stay within 500m of their houses, but can travel to workplaces while schools and shopping centres will be closed. Supermarkets and pharmacies will remain open, however.

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