SYDNEY (REUTERS) – Qantas Airways said on Friday (Nov 5) it had taken nearly 500,000 domestic bookings in the past two weeks as states begin to open their borders, versus around 20,000 in a two-week period in August when parts of the country were locked down.
“Travel demand and confidence levels are high,” Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said at the airline’s annual meeting.
“Domestically, the crucial Melbourne-Sydney route has started to ramp up,” he said. “And most states have outlined their plans to open their borders before Christmas – one of the busiest travel times of the year.”
The airline said it would provide a more detailed update to the market next month at a time when international travel is also beginning to return.
Australia eased its international border restrictions on Monday for the first time during the pandemic, allowing some of its vaccinated public to travel freely and many families to reunite, sparking emotional embraces at airports.
Qantas last month said all 11,000 of the airline’s staff idled without pay, but around half its workforce will return to work by early next month as domestic and international flying returns to more normal levels.
Qantas chairman Richard Goyder said the airline remained on track to choose the preferred suppliers for an order of more than 100 planes to replace its current domestic fleet by the end of the calendar year.