More flight services for Central Queensland
FLIGHTS to and from Central Queensland will this month receive a much-needed boost as Qantas looks to increase regional services in response to eased social distancing restrictions.
Qantas and Jetstar today announced the news, revealing plans to rebolster their domestic network and intrastate service's capacity from 5 per cent to 15 per cent by the end of June.
Additional services will commence from Friday, June 15, easing pressure on the already in-demand regional services as non-essential travel recommences.
Rockhampton's weekly flights to Brisbane will increase to 11; a significant upturn from its three which operated during strict public health orders.
Emerald will receive six weekly flights instead of its two, while Moranbah jumps from three to nine and Mackay from three to 10.
News of increased services will come as a relief to many Central Queenslanders as some are reportedly forced to wait more than a week before flights are available.
As of 11am today, the earliest available flight from Rockhampton to Brisbane is Tuesday next week at a cost of $314 one-way.
Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said he was aware of the growing demand for air travel, adding the airline had already experienced a big increase in customers booking flights for the weeks and months ahead.
"We are gradually adding flights in June as demand levels increase, which will go from 5 per cent of pre-crisis levels currently to 15 per cent by late June," he said.
"We can quickly ramp up flying in time for the July school holidays if border restrictions have eased more by then. Normally, we plan our capacity months in advance, but in the current climate we need to be flexible to respond to changing restrictions and demand levels."
Services from the state's regional airports suffered a dramatic downturn as struggling airlines combated the government mandated orders.
Mr Joyce said the return of additional flights would also help support the one million people who work in tourism across Australia.
"These additional flights are an important first step to help get more people out into communities that rely on tourism and bring a much-needed boost to local businesses," he said.
Despite the new services, strict hygiene measures will remain in place such as some supplied face masks and sanitising wipes.
"Customers will notice a number of differences when they fly, and we'll be sending out information before their flight, so they know exactly what to expect and have some extra peace of mind," Mr Joyce said.
Further services will likely commence throughout July, though Mr Joyce admits the decision will be dependent on travel demand and further relaxation of state borders.