Aviation

Qantas ramps up its campaign for states to reopen borders

Ali Coulton

Ali Coulton

Qantas has ramped up its calls for state governments to reopen borders based a more uniform medical risk assessment, promising new regional routes in return.

The national carrier has created a petition which calls for border closures to be risk-assessed against an agreed set of medical criteria and a shared definition of what constitutes a COVID-19 hotspot.

“There is huge pent up demand for domestic travel with Australians wanting to get away on holiday after being stuck at home,” the airline said on its website.

“We want to see Australians reunite with loved ones after months of being separated. And we want to see local businesses, and the one million people in the tourism industry, get back to work.”

In a release, Qantas said it will ask its roughly 10,000 suppliers to show their support, adding that many of them are small to medium businesses that rely heavily on flights restarting for their businesses to survive.

It is also encouraging its employees, more than 20,000 of whom have been stood down since April, to sign the petition.

“It’s expected other parts of the travel industry, including airports, travel agents and tour companies, will join the campaign,” Qantas said in the release.

Those signing the online petition are asked to provide their postcode and leave a comment on what impact the border closures have had on them; those responses will then be sent to their local state and federal MPs.

Qantas’ group executive for government, industry, international and sustainability, Andrew Parker has written to state and federal MPs who represent tourism-dependent electorates in states which did not agree to develop a road map out of hard border regimes following the National Cabinet meetings last Friday (that is, Queensland and Western Australia), making the case for a common, medically-based framework for reopening.

“We ask that all states and territories work with the commonwealth and other states and territories to develop a harmonised approach to border management with agreed timelines to provide greater certainty for businesses and all Australians,” Parker said in the letter.

“Arbitrary border restrictions are having a profound economic and social cost to communities, businesses, supply chains and jobs.

“I ask that you closely consider these implications for the welfare and economic wellbeing of your community and join the call for a rational, harmonised approach to border management guided by the best medical advice.”

Qantas has also announced it will launch new flights between Brisbane and Port Macquarie in response to Virgin Australia’s decision to cut the route.

The new route, which will depend upon borders reopening, will be traversed by the airline’s Q400 turboprop aircraft which will operate five times per week, adding more than 700 seats to the route each week.

The airline said in a statement it will also look to backfill capacity on other regional routes, with flights added in line with demand and an easing of travel restrictions.

QantasLink CEO John Gissing said the new flights would help maintain travel options for regional communities and drive much-needed tourism.

“As the national carrier, and the country’s largest regional airline, we have an important role to play in driving tourism and helping the industry get back on its feet,” he said.

“We also know how important air travel is for regional communities, for residents and business travellers. We’re pleased to be able to support customers with ongoing connectivity where there is demand.”

The airline has stressed that the new regional flights are contingent on an opening of state borders.

“We know there is significant pent-up demand for domestic travel with Australians wanting to explore their own backyard,” Gissing said.

“We expect the new flights to Port Macquarie will be popular with Queensland travellers looking to visit the beautiful coastal town so we hope an easing of travel restrictions will make this possible.

“These extra flights are also another step towards our recovery and getting more of our people back to work.”

The schedule and fares for the new Brisbane-Port Macquarie service will be available when the date for the border opening is announced.

SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

Leave a Reply

Tourism

Ardent Leisure hit with record $3.6m fine over Dreamworld tragedy

Ardent Leisure has been handed what it has described as “the largest fine in Queensland history for a workplace tragedy”.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Aviation Wrap: Virgin Australia sale update, United makes COVID-19 tests available to customers + MORE

It’s been a landmark week for carriers near and far. Lucky for you, our Aviation Wrap continues to keep you abreast of the latest in this space.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Tourism Australia reminds international travellers what’s waiting for them with incredible new ‘8D’ videos

These incredible new vids could also come in handy for agents looking to woo some domestic clients.

Share

CommentComments

Travel Agents

TravelManagers helps Victorian agents find temp work

A group of TravelManagers agents have found an alternative way to earn money during the COVID-19 pandemic, with a little help from the network’s national partnership office.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

South Australia is giving away 200 return flights (and some holiday packages) to NSW travellers

In celebration of South Australia easing restrictions to NSW travellers, 200 return airfares and a handful of holiday packages are up for grabs.

Share

CommentComments

Travel Agents

Corporate Travel Management emerges from trading halt with big acquisition

Jamie Pherous has reason to smile after CTM announced it has caught a very big fish.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Sun seekers will adore these Malaysian islands of Terengganu

by Sponsored by Tourism Malaysia

Along with drawing locals in for its culture and cuisine, Terengganu’s secluded islands and beaches are a paradise for sun seekers. Here’s all you need to know about this lesser-known Malaysian state.

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

Luxury floating hotel docked at Sydney’s Palm Beach burns down

In sad news for those looking for lush stay at Sydney’s northern beaches, this floating hotel was “irreparably damaged” when a fire recently broke out on board.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Man charged after joking his cousin had a bomb on Auckland flight

Unsurprisingly, it is STILL a bad idea to joke about bombs when you are boarding a plane, just in case anyone was wondering. We hope you weren’t.

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

Aussie food suppliers jump on board calls for resumption of cruising

Aussies farmers, beverage companies, transport providers and all the others who fill cruise ships and land excursions with all those delicious goodies have banded together to support the cruise industry.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Destination Wrap: LA launches trade page, Spanish tourism board’s new Australian director + MORE

In the dark after a weekend away from travel news? Check back in with this breakdown of the latest destination updates.

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

Regional tourism receives $250 million cash injection

The government has given regional tourism operators a reason to jump for joy this morning, and caused two industry associations to give such an aggressive thumbs up that they are both now suffering from pulled muscles in their hands.

Share

CommentComments