Jetstar on Tuesday resumed services between Cairns and the Gold Coast.
The A320, VH-VQK, departed Cairns at 7:36am and arrived as flight JQ967 in the Gold Coast at 9:45am, where it received the traditional water cannon salute.
The new service means Gold Coast Airport will now run 19 services a week, up from just 11. Pre-COVID-19, the airport would welcome 55 flights per day.
“This service will reconnect the Gold Coast with tropical far north Queensland – the state’s two powerhouse tourism destinations,” said Gold Coast Airport COO Marion Charlton.
“It will grow from eight return flights this week to 11 return flights by the end of September, in time for the school holidays. With the recommencement of this service, we are confident more Queenslanders will embrace the opportunity to explore both destinations.”
Last month, Australian Aviation reported that Cairns is taking advantage of the shift to intrastate travel with its return route to Brisbane now estimated to be Australia’s busiest.
However, while Cairns is performing relatively well given the scale of the coronavirus crisis, the 100,000 people arriving each month is still far down from pre-pandemic numbers of 450,000.
Separately, Tourism Tropical North Queensland CEO Mark Olsen revealed Cairns had become the most searched travel region in Australia on Google.
“Bookings have picked up for some properties, with Fitzroy Island Resort reporting strong forward bookings after losing a lot of business when the New South Wales border closed,” Olsen said.
“Hotels are experiencing better mid-week vacancies. They’re reporting a younger demographic is enjoying getaways and mini-breaks.
“In terms of seat sales, travel from Brisbane to Cairns is the most popular flight in Australia in the moment. That gives even more incentive for Qantas, Jetstar and Virgin to increase their seat capacity because the attraction is there.”
Jetstar’s chief executive Gareth Evans said, “We currently operate five intra-Queensland routes and are confident the relaunch of our low fares services between the Gold Coast and Cairns will further stimulate local tourism, support small businesses and boost the state economy.
“The resumption of services also means more of our people are flying, which is great news too.”