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Australian Air Travel Set for Record-Breaking Bumper New Year as Demand Soars

Australian Air Travel Set for Record-Breaking Bumper New Year as Demand Soars

Demand for air travel is soaring in Australia where almost 90 per cent of the population plans to travel domestically at some point in 2021. Low-cost airline Jetstar said on Tuesday that new bookings were flooding in at such a rate that it would start operating more domestic flights than before the COVID-19 pandemic decimated the aviation industry.

Analysts have suggested that it could take years for passenger numbers to recover to pre-pandemic levels but the situation in Australia again goes to prove that the underlying demand to travel hasn’t gone away.

Evidence from countries like Australia, China and New Zealand that have successfully suppressed the novel Coronavirus show that domestic air travel quickly bounces back as soon as travel restrictions are lifted. In the last 24-hours, Australia reported just eight new infections and a total of 48 active cases.

When Queensland finally opened its borders with New South Wales and Victoria the Qantas Group (which includes Jetstar) sold 200,000 tickets from Sydney and Melbourne to Queensland within just 72 hours.

Jetstar now says it’s on course to operate more than 850 return weekly flights by March 2021 – around 10 per cent more than what the airline was operating in March 2019 and just before much of the world went into pandemic lockdown.

The airline will find space for passengers by using single-aisle planes that it would normally use on shorter-range international services.

It’s not all good news, however. For now, the bounceback is being driven by leisure travellers who are keen to get away to holiday hotspots with the help of a massive 300,000 seat airfare sale.

There’s less evidence as to whether higher earning business travel is also recovering as quickly. The recovery hasn’t come soon enough to save thousands of airline jobs either, including a further 2,500 ground handlers who left the Qantas Group in the last few weeks.

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