Newcastle Airport has announced it has negotiated twice-weekly flights to Brisbane for essential workers despite Queensland preparing to re-shut its border to all of NSW on Saturday.
From Friday, 14 August, Jetstar will operate services but passengers must complete a Queensland border declaration pass and provide proof of essential travel.
The news comes days after Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced she was closing the state off to all of NSW and the ACT to avoid a “second wave” of coronavirus cases.
“We’ve seen that Victoria is not getting better and we’re not going to wait for NSW to get worse,” Premier Palaszczuk said.
Newcastle Airport urged customers to pass the information of the new flights on as, “without ongoing demand for a Brisbane service, it is very likely they will be suspended”.
According to the Queensland government website, the only people that can travel from hotspots such as NSW, other than returning citizens, are state and government employees (such as army and police); health and emergency services; transport, freight and logistics; time critical specialist skills (such as construction or resources); and air and maritime crew.
From next week, Qantas is operating two daily flights from Sydney to Brisbane and Virgin has a handful operating each week over the next month.
Queensland’s latest move to shut off all of NSW and ACT comes after the state initially closed to Greater Sydney last week, following a number of ‘clusters’. However, the ACT currently has no active infections at all.
The decision means that, from 1am on Saturday, 8 August, only residents from these areas will be allowed to return to Queensland, and those that do will have to quarantine at a government facility for 14 days.
Premier Palaszczuk said the restrictions were taken after receiving advice from chief health officer Dr Jeannette Young.
The decision to initially close off to Sydney alone led to Qantas axing almost one-third of its schedule.
Chief executive Alan Joyce also said the airline is operating at 20 per cent pre-COVID-19 capacity, and not the 45 per cent it hoped to run before borders across Australia were hardened.