As travel restrictions start to ease across the country, Qantas and Jetstar will increase their domestic and regional flying capacity for June and July.
The additional services will see capacity increase from five per cent of pre-coronavirus levels to 15 per cent by the end of June, equating to more than 300 more return flights per week.
Qantas Group said both airlines will likely operate additional flights during July depending on travel demand and further relaxation of state borders, with the ability to increase to up to 40 per cent of the group’s pre-crisis domestic capacity by the end of July.
The additional flights include more services on capital city routes, particularly Melbourne-Sydney and a number of routes to and from Canberra, and increased intra-state flights for Western Australia, Queensland, NSW and South Australia.
Broome, Cairns and Rockhampton to see a significant boost in their weekly schedules, and flights will resume on eight routes not currently being operated.
Qantas will also commence flights from Sydney to Ballina, after the route launch was postponed due to the coronavirus.
A state-by-state breakdown of the group’s domestic and regional schedule can be viewed here.
As part of Qantas Group’s ‘Fly Well’ program, Qantas and Jetstar will have a range of measures in place from 12 June 2020, including contactless check-in, enhanced cleaning, and masks and sanitising wipes for all customers.
As a result of the additional flying, both airlines will be standing up more employees to operate and support these services.
However, given its network remains significantly below pre-coronavirus levels, Qantas Group said the majority of its employees will remain stood-down.
“We know there is a lot of pent-up demand for air travel, and we are already seeing a big increase in customers booking and planning flights in the weeks and months ahead,” Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said.
“We can quickly ramp up flying in time for the July school holidays if border restrictions have eased more by then. Normally, we plan our capacity months in advance, but in the current climate, we need to be flexible to respond to changing restrictions and demand levels.”
Joyce said those working in Australia’s tourism sector “have been really hurting” in recent months as a result of COVID-19 and the bushfires.
“These additional flights are an important first step to help get more people out into communities that rely on tourism and bring a much-needed boost to local businesses,” he said.
“Customers will notice a number of differences when they fly, such as masks and sanitising wipes, and we’ll be sending out information before their flight so they know exactly what to expect and have some extra peace of mind.
“Importantly, the Australian government’s medical experts have said the risk of contracting coronavirus on an aircraft is low.”
The move to increase domestic flights by Qantas Group follows that of rival Virgin Australia, with the airline growing its schedule from 64 to 76 return services per week until 11 June, under a revised agreement with the federal government.