Qantas to boost international flights amid 'massive demand'

After nearly two years of being locked in, Australians are ready to travel.

And Qantas CEO Alan Joyce says the airline is stepping up.

''There's massive demand for Australians wanting to see their family and relatives. There's massive demand for loved ones wanting to get together for Christmas. There's massive demand for people wanting to take that holiday that they've been looking forward to for nearly two years."

The national carrier said on Friday it would speed up plans to restart flights to many destinations and use some bigger planes to meet the demand.

The airline said all 11,000 of its staff idled without pay - around half its total workforce - will return to work by early December as domestic and international flying returns to more normal levels.

"This 20 months is probably the darkest period in Qantas' 100 year history. It's meant that we've had to ground aircraft, stand down people and restructure the business. But there is light at the end of the tunnel. It's very clear that because Australians have rolled up their sleeves and taken the jab, we can see that light. We're getting more aircraft back in the air. We're starting more international operations and very importantly, we're getting more of our people back to work."

Qantas said it would bring forward the start of flights from Melbourne to London by six weeks to November 6, and to Singapore by three weeks to November 22.

However, for the airline to make a full recovery in its loss-making international business, Australian rules will need to be eased further to allow international students, business travelers and tourists to enter the country.

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