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The Great Restart: Qantas adds 300 more weekly flights in June

written by Sandy Milne | June 4, 2020

Qantas Boeing 787-9 VH-ZNA. (Qantas)
Qantas Boeing 787-9 VH-ZNA. (Qantas)

The return of domestic aviation in Australia received its biggest boost since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, with the news Qantas and Jetstar are planning to add 300 more return flights per week by the end of June.

The business also announced it could increase capacity “up to 40 per cent” by the end of July depending on demand and the lifting of state border restrictions.

Qantas Group chief executive Alan Joyce said, “We know there is a lot of pent up demand for air travel and we are already seeing a big increase in customers booking and planning flights in the weeks and months ahead.”

Currently, Qantas and Jetstar are operating just 5 per cent of pre-pandemic capacity but the June increase will shift that up to 15 per cent.

Over the coming months, Qantas plans to:

  • Increase services on capital city routes, particularly Melbourne-Sydney and a number of routes to-and-from Canberra;
  • Increase intra-state flights for Western Australia, Queensland, NSW and South Australia. Broome, Cairns and Rockhampton to see a significant boost in weekly flights;
  • Resume eight routes not currently being operated; and
  • Commence flights from Sydney to Byron Bay (Ballina).


“We can quickly ramp up flying in time for the July school holidays if border restrictions have eased more by then,” said Joyce. “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.”

Joyce said that both Qantas and Jetstar would be standing up stood-down employees and that the added flights would “get more people out into communities that rely on tourism and bring a much-needed boost to local businesses”.

Qantas’ planned network, June (Source: Qantas)

Before today’s announcement, much of Australia’s domestic network was heavily reliant on a $165 million government subsidy, announced in mid-April, which increased Qantas Group passenger flights from 105 to 164 per week.

However, these were primarily intended as a way for repatriated passengers to return back to their home state after completing 14-day hotel quarantine.

It comes after Canberra Airport declared on Monday it was open for passengers to fly “without restrictions” to and from Sydney and Melbourne.

Currently, interstate travel in Australia is complicated by different rules between states, territories and the federal government.

This week, for instance, both Queensland and WA reiterated that they have no imminent plans to open their borders, despite repeated criticism from Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

Queensland residents returning are also subject to a 14-day quarantine if they’ve travelled from what it terms COVID-19 hotspots, which currently include NSW’s Central Coast and the Northern Beaches.

NSW, Victoria and the ACT never technically closed their borders, however, travel was effectively ruled out because people could only leave their homes for an essential reason such as to buy food, exercise or provide medical help.

When the national cabinet agreed on a three-step roadmap for reopening the country, interstate travel was tentatively pencilled in for a nationwide return in July.

This plan was thrown into doubt by repeated declarations from Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk that her borders could remain closed until September, leading to a row between states and the federal government.

It culminated in the Prime Minister appearing on a number of breakfast shows last week and repeatedly declaring that border closures were never “the medical advice”, or agreed by the national cabinet.

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Comments (14)

  • Murray


    I can only wonder what things could have been had the National Cabinet been able to be effective in reining in the power-hungry state Premiers. If only the High Court would urgently rule the state border closures unconstitutional …

  • John Bowers


    Maybe the CV19 would have spread more effectively with the borders open as the writer suggests. From the Qld perspective the State is unique in the Australian context. We are not a “City State” and tourists at this time of year come up from the south , particularly Victoria and Tasmania, and seek sun anywhere from Coolangatta to Cooktown. This enormous coastline length has regional cities all requiring hospitals and services at a comprehensive level. The mode of transmission is still unclear and under the guidance of the State’s CMO ( arguably the most experienced in epidemiology at this level…remember the Swine flu and the concerns of transmission to Australia via our very close neighbours in PNG? …. a very safe protection of the citizens was effected.
    Its easy for Gladys and Co to carp on about border control when she has the ARL on her back and huge numbers of empty hotel rooms to fill but the fact remains that most infections were let into this country by her Government’s mismanagement.
    So all up, while we are all very anxious to get back to normal, to describe these issues as ‘Power Hungry’ simply highlights the shallow knowledge of the promoters.

  • Brian green


    QANTAS to resume flights……..But no mention of prices. !

    • James


      Why would there be???

      Go online and check for yourself

  • TD


    The state is responsible for the welfare of people in the state so the premiers and governments are looking after that area until they are all happy after all it’s on them if things go wrong. A little patience is required here. Won’t be long ……

  • Red Cee


    I personally would love to fly. However, I won’t be able to do any leisure travel as my wife won’t travel when the risk of Covid 19 is so high. Until it is proven that passengers aren’t catching Covid in aircraft, airports and other crowded places, my flying days appear to be over. How many others are in this boat?

    • Linda Weaving


      I think your wife’s perspective is the smartest. This virus kills, and when it doesn’t, there are plenty who have said they’ve never felt so sick in their lives. It’s now clear that Covid-19 is far more than just a respiratory disease. It’s causing blood clots & strokes even in young people. It’s not worth the risk. You can take a good old driving holiday in your own state. Queenslanders in Queensland etc. Plus it’s become quite apparent that businesses are perfectly capable of carrying on business remotely with all the technology we have today. At the same time saving themselves a big chunk of money. The airlines (and Qantas in particular in this country) have been the major source of spread. They’ve acted irresponsibly. No wonder the TWU is after them & consumer confidence at all time low. I don’t believe that air travel demand will go back to ‘normal’. Qantas should take stock based on this reality.

  • Jennifer


    I agree . Vote out the power hungry premiers and move on their CMOs.
    Australia -all of us – needs to get back to work .

    • Linda Weaving


      Most never stopped work, and companies like Woolworths have been employing a lot more people. Many others are simply working from home. Real estate agents are even seeing a trend of young people seeking affordable housing and a better life in regional towns, now it has become clear that they can work remotely. That is the ‘new normal’. Companies need to adapt or they’ll go under. Diversify. Survival of the fittest. This is a capitalist country after all. Perhaps tourism operators need to put more focus on attracting people from nearby. That is certainly the approach where I live, which has a large tourism sector.

  • Wayno


    Victoria in the last week alone has had 12 infections where the community transmission source is unknown. The last thing the 5 states with border restrictions want is someone hopping a plane and re-igniting the community transmission problem in their own jurisdiction.

    • Linda Weaving


      That’s what I say. Especially to regional areas that have managed to remain Covid free & have less access to healthcare.

  • Red Cee


    Disagree with Jennifer. I come from a state in lockdown, and the last thing we need are passengers coming in on planes from NSW and Victoria. When these states get their outbreaks of CV 19 under control, then we can look at opening borders. Our state premiers are NOT power hungry. They are looking after the residents of there states. I would love to fly, but not until it is safe, and at this stage, the risk is too high.

    • Bran Masters


      Let’s put some facts around that statement because when you say “when those states get their Outbreaks of CV 19 under control” you do of course realise that they are. In NSW there have been zero cases of community transmission for 11 days with all new cases coming from returned travelers. In Victoria there was still small numbers of community transmission happening but all of those came from known virus clusters such as the Rydges Hotel and the Meatworks. The ACT has basically zero cases and is virus free. So the States with open borders are basically in the same position as the States with closed borders.

  • John Winter


    Closing state borders may be unconstitutional. Spreading a deadly virus can be criminal homicide. Take your pick!

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