Borders open, flights start, tourism gets going again. Simple.
Qantas and Jetstar today announced they’ll operate more than 250 flights (48,000 seats) across five routes between NSW and Victoria from November 23, the date the border between the states reopens after months of closure due to Victoria’s Coronvirus crisis.
Contrast that to the present schedule – 10 return flights per week between Melbourne and Sydney, the only route currently operating between the states.
“Pre-COVID, Melbourne-Sydney was the busiest air route in Australia and the second busiest in the world,” said Qantas Domestic & International CEO, Andrew David.
“On a busy day, Qantas and Jetstar would operate more than 100 flights per day between New South Wales and Victoria. During the lockdown, our schedule reduced to as low as one flight a day.”
David added: “When you consider the social and economic impact of border closures, we’ve always said things should open up as soon as it’s safe to do so.
“New South Wales has led the way in taking a sensible, risk-based approach to borders that’s supported by what is probably one of the best contact tracing programs in the world.
“It’s great to see New South Wales and Victoria working together on what is a national issue.
“Queensland and Western Australia are unfortunately taking a different approach, which doesn’t seem based on a realistic assessment of risk.”
The increase will boost the Qantas Group’s domestic capacity increase from 30 per cent of pre-COVID levels to just under 40 per cent by late November, “with more aircraft ‘woken up’ and more employees returning to work to support the additional flying”.
Qantas says the new flights will be sold with more flexible conditions and there’ll be strict health and safety measures through its Fly Well program.