- Thousands of travellers are flocking to Queensland after the Sunshine State opened its border to New South Wales and Victoria.
- Virgin Australia said searches for flights between Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland jumped 103%.
- The airline is set to reach 60% of last year’s domestic capacity by January 2021.
- Visit Business Insider Australia’s homepage for more stories.
Virgin Australia flights were near capacity on Tuesday after the Queensland border opened to people from Victoria and New South Wales.
Thousands of passengers are set to make the trip into the Sunshine State, months after its border was shut due to coronavirus restrictions. In the past week, around 10,000 seats to destinations in Queensland have been booked – nearly three quarters of which are in the lead up to Christmas.
Traffic across Virgin Australia’s website has been the highest in eight months, with searches for flights between Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland spiking 103% week on week. The top five flight destinations were both ways between Melbourne – Brisbane, Sydney – Brisbane, Melbourne – the Gold Coast, Melbourne – Sydney and Sydney – the Gold Coast.
“We’re seeing strong demand throughout December across all of our Queensland services from Victoria and New South Wales, so we know many Australians have been itching to visit Queensland to reunite with their loved ones or do business,” Virgin Australia’s newly appointed CEO Jayne Hrdlicka said in a statement.
“The broader economic contribution that open borders will bring cannot be underestimated in what has been the most difficult year for many businesses, particularly in the tourism and hospitality industries.”
Hrdlicka added that the Golden Triangle – flights between Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane – has historically been one of the busiest flight corridors in the world. And before COVID, Sydney to Melbourne flight was the second most busiest flight path in the world.
To mark the opening of the border, Virgin Australia revealed its lounges in Melbourne and Sydney will reopen on December 15. Among the safety measures in the lounges will be QR code check-ins, capacity restrictions and sanitising stations.
As borders begin to reopen, Virgin Australia expects to reach 60% domestic of last year’s domestic capacity by January 2021. The airline added that there will be “approximately 78,000 additional weekly seats between Victoria and New South Wales and Queensland” by January next year as well.
“We have always advocated for the safe re-opening of borders and we thank the Queensland Government for their actions in helping to reconnect the nation ahead of Christmas,” Hrdlicka said.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.