Qantas and Virgin Australia are quickly adding flights across the nation as state borders re-open to leisure and business tourism.

This morning (Oct 28), Virgin Australia announced it would introduce two regional services from Brisbane, while Qantas revealed yesterday (Oct 27), it would launch new flights from Tasmania to Sydney.

Virgin Australia is set to reintroduce five-times weekly services between Brisbane-Emerald and twice-weekly services between Brisbane-Alice Springs, along with expanded flights to a host of destinations, including Ballina Byron, Hamilton Island, Sydney and Adelaide.

Virgin Australia Group Chief Commercial Officer, John MacLeod, said Australians love to explore and with summer just around the corner there’s never been a better time to holiday and visit loved ones and local businesses while international travel remains suspended.

“The expansion of our network to include Emerald and an additional route into Alice Springs recognises our long-standing commitment to regional Australia and will deliver choice and convenience for those communities and businesses,” he said.

“The increased frequencies to Byron Bay, Hamilton Island and Adelaide will help the tourism industry to get back on its feet,” MacLeod said.

The news follows Qantas’ announcement yesterday that it would launch a new route between Sydney and Launceston in time for the summer holidays and re-start flights from Hobart to Sydney.

Beginning 4 December 2020, Qantas will operate three return services per week between Sydney and Launceston with its Boeing 717 aircraft, increasing to four return services from the following week onwards until 1 February.

This will give travellers almost 900 additional seats on the route each week. The airline will look to add more flights beyond an initial eight week period if there is demand. This is the first time since 2004 the ‘Flying Kangaroo’ has operated services between Launceston and the NSW capital.

Qantas will also restart flights between Hobart to Sydney, with 11 return services per week from 6 November 2020, and increases are expected with any major lift in demand.

The announcement follows two other new routes the Qantas Group has launched to Tasmania in response to demand – Brisbane-Hobart with Qantas and Gold Coast-Hobart with Jetstar.

Qantas Domestic and International CEO, Andrew David, said: “As the national carrier, we’re delighted to add direct flights between Launceston and Sydney for the first time in 16 years.

“We know there is huge pent-up demand for domestic travel with Australians looking for new destinations to explore.

“These new services to Launceston will help more people discover Tasmania’s beautiful north and give locals more options to get to Sydney.

“We’ll keep a close eye on demand and if it proves successful we will look to extend the service.

“We’re delighted to be reconnecting Australia and these flights will help more of our people get back to work,” David said.

Both carriers are expected to dramatically increase flights between New South Wales and Queensland once a decision is made on the border, expected after the Sunshine State’s election on October 31.

James Wilkinson

Editor-In-Chief, Hotel Management