Thousands of Qantas and Jetstar passengers will jet into the Sunshine State today for the first time since August as the Queensland border opens to Victoria and Sydney.
Almost 9,000 passengers are booked to travel today with the first Qantas and Jetstar flights from Sydney and Melbourne to Queensland filled with customers heading north for long-awaited reunions with family and friends as well as on holidays.
More than 1,200 Qantas and Jetstar team members will also return to work in December as a result of the Queensland borders re-opening.
From today, the two airlines will operate more than 420 return flights per week across 19 routes between Queensland and both Sydney and Melbourne. This compares with around 40 return flights per week when borders were closed.
The opening of borders also sees Sydney-Brisbane and Melbourne-Brisbane returning to their pre-COVID position in the top three busiest air routes in the country (behind Melbourne-Sydney in the top spot). Flights to Cairns, Hamilton Island, Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast are proving popular with customers in the lead-up to summer holidays.
Jetstar CEO Gareth Evans said the opening of borders was a welcome relief for families ahead of Christmas and for tourism operators banking on a boom in domestic tourism over summer.
“Many of our customers have told us about how difficult the border closures have been, so we know today will be emotional for family and friends who can now reunite after months apart,” said Mr Evans.
“It is also terrific for Queensland tourism operators who have done it tough over the past four months with border closures severely impacting their businesses.
“From hotels, theme parks and cafes, to travellers and our people, everyone involved with Sunshine State tourism will be celebrating what is a fantastic day for Australia’s domestic recovery.”
Qantas has today launched its biggest sale since February, with more than half a million fares on sale across more than 150 routes around Australia, and extended its “Fly Flexible” policy for bookings and travel until 31 March 2021, helping customers book their travel with confidence.
From December 9, Qantas will have opened 30 of its 35 domestic and regional lounges across its network, including Brisbane’s Qantas Club and Business Lounge, with a number of health and wellbeing measures including a hosted All-Day Snacking Station (replacing ‘self-serve’ buffets and drinks stations’, sanitising stations and additional cleaning protocols.
Qantas last week extended an offer to top tier members of other airline loyalty programs the opportunity to fast track their flying status when they switch to the Qantas Frequent Flyer program. The follows a large number of enquiries about joining the program from members of other domestic and international airline loyalty programs.