With South Australia on track to open its border to NSW residents from midnight tonight, both Virgin Australia and Qantas have committed to increasing flights between the states.
As of Thursday, residents from NSW will join those of the ACT in being able to travel to SA without having to undertake a 14-day quarantine. Residents of the ACT will soon be able to freely travel to Queensland, as well.
In response to the news, Virgin has scheduled more flights and recommenced services between the states and territory, including recommencing flights between Canberra and Adelaide (from 12 October), and operating daily flights between Adelaide and Sydney (from 2 October).
By the end of October, Virgin will also have progressed to operating daily return flights between Brisbane and Canberra, with the carrier further committing to add more than 3,000 seats between Canberra and Gold Coast for travel during October 2020.
This network increase will be serviced by Virgin’s current deployed fleet of Boeing 737s.
The airline also continues to operate direct services between Adelaide and Brisbane, and Adelaide and Gold Coast.
Virgin’s general manager of network and revenue management, Russel Shaw, said the news of Queensland and SA’s reopening to Canberrans and the latter to Sydneysiders is great news for tourism operators.
“We’re pleased that Queensland is re-opening to ACT residents and that South Australia is re-opening to both ACT and NSW residents, which is great news for tourism operators and the local economies,” he said.
“We look forward to the safe re-opening of further borders to help the tourism and aviation industries to recover and provide more opportunities for Australians to travel locally.”
Virgin also revealed to Travel Weekly that it would be dropping a sale for flights between Adelaide and Sydney, with fares available for $119, alongside flights between Adelaide and Canberra (starting at $179), and Canberra and Gold Coast (starting at $169).
Meanwhile, Qantas and Jetstar will boost capacity between SA and NSW because of border restrictions easing between the states, following its planned increase in flights between Queensland and the ACT.
From Thursday, Qantas will reintroduce flights between Sydney and Adelaide, offering a daily service operated by a 176-seat Boeing 737-800. Fares start at $213.
Jetstar will also increase flights from five per week to twice daily from 1 October, and three times daily from 1 November. Jetstar is expected to announce details of a flash sale today for flights between the two cities.
“The resumption of Qantas flights from Sydney to Adelaide and additional Jetstar flights on the route will be fantastic for tourism operators and local businesses in both South Australia and New South Wales,” a Qantas spokesperson said.
“With the ongoing travel restrictions, we’re pleased to be able to help more travellers explore world-class destinations in their own country while getting more business and people back to work.
“We’ll continue to monitor demand and look to add more seats.”
Qantas has not operated flights between Sydney and Adelaide since July.
The reintroduced flights will operate as QF 735 departing Sydney at 9:15am and arriving in Adelaide at 10:55am. QF 740 will depart Adelaide at 11:40am and arrive back in Sydney at 2pm.
Qantas advised that if the caveat placed by the SA government is enacted in relation to community transmissions in NSW, customers will have the option to move their flight.
Qantas also revealed that almost 60,000 people have signed its petition that invited them to show their support for the reopening of Australia’s domestic borders.
Additionally, as of 25 September, the Flying Kangaroo will for the first time in 20 years operate up to four flights between Canberra and the Gold Coast.
It will also increase flights between Canberra and Brisbane from four flights per week to 14 flights, adding an extra 2,200 seats each week.
News of the increase in capacity across Australia comes after Virgin Australia in July announced a massive increase in domestic services – a move that came shortly after its rival announced it would resume flights to Ballina after a 15-year hiatus, as well as its first-ever flights to Orange.
Virgin Australia Group CEO and managing director Paul Scurrah will be speaking at the travel industry’s most thought-provoking conference, Travel DAZE 2020. To find out more or to register, click here.
Featured image source: iStock/Ryan Fletcher