Aviation

Qantas’ new Melbourne-Byron Bay flights take off, with Melbourne-Burnie route next in line

Victorians now have more travel options to the popular coastal hub of Byron Bay this summer, with Qantas’ new direct flights taking off from Melbourne last Friday.

The airline is now operating three return flights per week to Ballina Byron Gateway Airport with its Boeing 737 aircraft, adding more than 1,000 seats on the route each week, and complementing Jetstar’s daily direct flights from Melbourne.

Qantas flights will increase to daily during the peak summer holiday period between mid-December and late January, offering 2,400 seats on the route each week.

Andrew David, CEO of Qantas’ domestic and international operations, said the new route was proving to be popular for travellers looking to book a beach holiday after months of lockdown.

“Byron Bay has been one of the most in-demand holiday destinations for Qantas and Jetstar customers over the past year, and we’re pleased to be making it even easier for Victorians to visit,” he said.

“These additional flights are coming at the right time for families who’ve spent a lot of time at home in recent months and are looking forward to getting out and exploring the best of Australia.

“As the national carrier, we have an important role to play in driving tourism, and more interstate visitors will be great news for the New South Wales north coast.

David said passengers will be able to earn and use points on these new flights and enjoy Qantas’ premium service, “whether it’s complimentary food and drinks, baggage or access to our lounges in Melbourne prior to departure”.

Qantas has also confirmed it will commence its new Melbourne-Burnie route on 17 December 2021.

To mark the new start date, Qantas is offering special fares from $129 one-way, available at qantas.com or through travel agents, until 19 November 2021, unless sold out prior.

The airline will operate up to six return services per week until late January with its Q300 aircraft. This will increase to 12 return weekly flights from 31 January, to a total of 1,200 seats each week on the route.

Originally scheduled to start in June 2021, the new service has been delayed due to the border closure with Victoria.

The new start date and January flights have been specially timed for the holiday period to offer Tasmanians easy onward connections from Melbourne to major cities and popular summer destinations.

Melbourne to Burnie is one of seven new routes Qantas has launched to Tasmania since international borders closed. The others are Adelaide-Hobart, Brisbane-Hobart, Sydney-Launceston, Brisbane-Launceston, Perth-Hobart and Canberra-Hobart.

QantasLink CEO John Gissing said: “We are delighted to be able to start our new Melbourne-to-Burnie route in time for the school holidays.

“After months of closed borders, we are offering special fares to make it even easier for people to reunite with family and friends and take a much-needed holiday.

“They’ll also open up more travel options for people looking to explore Tasmania’s beautiful north-west coast.”

Demand for status fast-track with Qantas

Qantas Frequent Flyer has reopened its popular status fast-track program, after more than 15,00 additional top-tier members of other airline loyalty programs requested to join to the national carrier.

The surge in interest follows the restart of Qantas’ international flights and record numbers of frequent flyers booking reward seats on the airline’s international and domestic network.

Qantas Frequent Flyers can now book flights with Qantas and Jetstar to more than 75 destinations, and a further 200 plus destinations with its 45 airline partners.

Olivia Wirth, CEO of Qantas Loyalty, said tens of thousands of members from other domestic and international airline loyalty programs had already secured tiered status with Qantas in two status fast-track offers in the past year.

“With so many Qantas Frequent Flyers using the points they have been stockpiling during the pandemic to book an overseas trip, there’s a lot of FOMO from members of other loyalty programs who don’t have nearly as many options.” She said.

“We’re already flying to London and Los Angeles and, over the next few months, flights will restart to Singapore, Johannesburg and Hawaii.

“Our members are also able to book reward seats with our airline partners which includes Emirates, American Airlines, Fiji Airways and British Airways.”

Qantas Loyalty CEO Olivia Wirth (image source: Qantas)

Individuals who hold Gold or above loyalty status with a qualifying airline program can fast-track their frequent flyer status to Qantas’ Gold tier by earning 100 status credits between 1 December 2021 and 28 February 2022, if they register their interest before 30 November.

Typically, members are required to earn 700 status credits to reach Qantas Frequent Flyer’s Gold tier and 600 status credits to retain the benefits each membership year.

Those participating in the status fast track will receive 90 days of complimentary Qantas Club access, including a more generous baggage allowance.

Those wishing to transfer from a higher-flying tier – Platinum and Platinum One equivalents – will only be able to transfer to Qantas’ Gold status, rather than have their status matched.


Featured image source: iStock/BeyondImages


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