Qantas has announced the return of the Sydney to Darwin route, as the Northern Territory reopens to Sydneysiders.
Despite new locally acquired cases confirmed in NSW that have potentially dashed hopes of the state’s border opening with Queensland, the NT has lifted its hotspot declaration for travellers from Sydney.
In line with the move, Qantas has resumed daily flights between Sydney and Darwin, and Jetstar will operate up to four flights per week on the route.
There are currently three Qantas return flights per week between Sydney and Alice Springs.
The move comes just a week from when the territory is expected to begin receiving travellers from New Zealand, as part of an agreement for the first stage of international, quarantine-free travel.
It also comes as Qantas introduces a new NSW route between Sydney and Merimbula, which the ‘Flying Kangaroo’ said would bring “much-needed competition to the route”, currently served by Regional Express, in time for the summer holidays.
From 18 December 2020, Qantas will operate four direct flights per week with a 50-seat Q300 turboprop aircraft, adding more than 400 seats on the route each week.
The airline plans to add further flights if there is strong demand.
QantasLink chief executive John Gissing said the new Merimbula flights reinforced the national carrier’s commitment to helping the tourism industry recover from COVID-19.
“With border restrictions fuelling demand for intra-state travel, we see a big opportunity to bring more tourists to Merimbula,” he said.
“This will be the first time that the Flying Kangaroo has flown to the Sapphire Coast, which will mean more competitive fares on a route that has been a monopoly for decades.
“We’ll be promoting Merimbula to millions of our frequent flyers across the state in the lead up the flights commencing.
“These new flights will help more travellers explore the beautiful beaches and unique wildlife in and around Merimbula and give locals more choice in how they get to Sydney.”
Featured image source: iStock/peterfz30