Jetstar has today announced some exciting news for travellers who miss the feeling of jumping on a plane overseas.
From mid-year, the airline giant is deploying up to five of its Boeing 787-8 aircraft, which are usually flown on international routes, in the domestic market.
It’s understood the 335-seat Dreamliners will remain on domestic routes between Melbourne/Sydney-Gold Coast and Melbourne/Sydney-Cairns until international flying returns, giving travellers a small taste of flying overseas.
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It comes as Virgin Australia today also announced they will be boosting flights, including those to and from the Gold Coast, as it ramps up operations across the country.
Virgin is planning to increase Gold Coast to Sydney flights to nine a day by June 20, with Melbourne to Gold Coast flights set to increase to eight a day.
Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said in a statement on Thursday that “we’re seeing really positive signs of sustained recovery.
“This is the longest run of relative stability we’ve had with domestic borders for over a year and it’s reflected in the strong travel demand we saw over Easter and the forward bookings that are flowing in each week from all parts of the market,” Mr Joyce said.
He admitted that the Federal Government’s half-price fares program is having a “direct and indirect” impact on the sector.
“The direct response to the program has been fantastic, with over 250,000 fares sold in the first two weeks,” he said.
“Indirectly, we saw a big spike in travel demand before the fares even went on sale because the announcement itself gave people confidence, which is something that had been missing for months.
“Corporate travel, including the small business segment, is now back to around 65 per cent of pre-COVID levels, and increasing month-on-month.”
Mr Joyce also credited the boost in demand to the Australia-New Zealand travel bubble, which kicks off on Monday.
“The two-way bubble with New Zealand is great news for the tourism sector as a whole. It means we can bring other parts of our business out of hibernation, like our aircraft and First lounges in Australia,” he said.
“The increased domestic flying and resumption of flights across the Tasman are also helping get more of our people back to work.”
However, he admitted that the airlines still remain vulnerable to snap travel restrictions across the country.
“As the recent lockdown in Brisbane showed, airlines and many other sectors remain vulnerable to travel restrictions until Australia’s vaccination rollout is complete,” Mr Joyce said.
“The vaccination program is absolutely key to restarting international flights in and out of Australia.”
Mr Joyce said that despite the speedbumps with the vaccine rollout, Qantas is “still planning for international flights to resume in late October” and that he remains in “regular dialogue” with the Government.