Visitors from Perth have arrived on the Gold Coast this morning on board the first quarantine-free flight from the Western Australian city in more than eight months.
The Jetstar flight was welcomed with a water cannon salute as it touched down at Gold Coast Airport just after 6am on Wednesday.
The 110 passengers on board were also greeted by a Quokka-themed cake as they made their way through the terminal to waiting family and friends.
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The flight signals the restoration of Gold Coast Airport’s full domestic network and Queensland Airports Limited CEO Chris Mills said it was an important day in the recovery process.
“This is the strongest position the airport has been in for two years, with the full domestic network operating and international services rebuilding,” he said.
“We expect there will be some emotional reunions throughout the week in both directions, as friends and families reunite after many months apart.
“This service also reconnects Australia’s premier holiday destination with Western Australia, which is high on the bucket lists of travellers.”
Mr Mills said Western Australians were keen to travel again after the state was closed off from the rest of the country for an extended period.
“There are strong forward bookings on this service and the first in and outbound flights are nearly full,” he said.
Jetstar’s Perth-Gold Coast service will operate three times per week, departing from Perth on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays and arriving on the Gold Coast early on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. The frequency of the service is set to increase next month.
The service, which operates on an A320 aircraft, will deliver more than 58,000 seats annually through Gold Coast Airport in both directions.
Mr Mills said passenger numbers were continuing to improve at Gold Coast Airport, as domestic connectivity rebuilds and international services resumed.
“More than 300,000 passengers were welcomed and farewelled at Gold Coast Airport in February – or about 68 per cent of pre-COVID-19 capacity,” he said.
“Airlines have indicated domestic capacity will continue to increase in the lead up to Easter, and with our full domestic network now reinstated, we expect Easter will be a peak period for Gold Coast Airport and our tourism operators.”