Qantas reveals plans to ramp up domestic flights
Qantas domestic flights could be operating at more than half of their previous schedule by Christmas, the airline's CEO Alan Joyce says.
But the increase in flight routes is dependent on borders opening, Mr Joyce said on Monday morning just before a COVID cluster in South Australia led to several states including Queensland moving to close borders to Adelaide.
"What we're still thinking is that by Christmas we will get to over 60 per cent of our schedule operating," Mr Joyce said on ABC Breakfast radio.
"Which I think is important for economic and social reasons…to get people back together for Christmas," he said.
Monday marks the 100 year anniversary of Qantas.
Mr Joyce said there was "huge demand" for domestic travel, after the company sold 40,000 seats on flights between Sydney and Melbourne ahead of the November 23 border lifting.
"Before COVID we were at 45 flights a day," he said.
"Now we're looking for 15…people want to see family and friends and want to take that break after being cooped up for so long.
"So we have optimism that the travel will be there, domestically."
Mr Joyce said he hoped to take advantage of the opportunities for domestic tourism too.
"Eleven million Australians went overseas every year and they are likely to want to have in the next year a holiday at home," he said.
"That could be a big boom for domestic travel and then we are optimistic that with a vaccine, that we can start seeing international coming back and maybe even before the vaccine is fully rolled out, we could see bubbles to various markets like New Zealand, like Japan, like Korea, like Taiwan, which we'd be very interested in operating."
Originally published as Qantas reveals plans to ramp up domestic flights