Due to the unprecedented coronavirus outbreak, all international and domestic flights were closed last month, however, the Australian authorities have reportedly announced plans to resume dozens of Qantas, Jetstar and Virgin Airlines’ domestic flights. According to an international media outlet, deals have been struck between the government and the airlines to get planes back in the air from April 17. The deal between the Australian government and the airlines also cost around $165 million.
A statement published on the official Qantas website read, “Qantas and Jetstar are pleased to help form part of the minimum domestic and regional network supported by the Australian Government. This will see the number of passenger flights we operate increase from 105 per week currently to 164 per week to all capital cities and 36 regional destinations”.
The statement further read, “While travel restrictions mean most passenger flights are not commercially viable at the moment, there remains a need for some essential travel – particularly given the distances between most Australian cities. These flights will also provide critical freight capacity, which has fallen significantly as commercial air networks have shrunk. Much of the belly space on these flights will be used for mail and other urgent shipments, including medical equipment”.
As the national carrier, we’re pleased to help form part of the minimum domestic and regional network supported by the Australian Government. We will operate flights to every capital city and 36 regional ports across the country.— Qantas (@Qantas) April 17, 2020
However, as per reports, as several states and territories have coronavirus related restrictions on travel and those still apply, people might be forced to quarantine for two weeks as a precaution. Passengers will reportedly also be allowed to fly only if they’re an essential traveller or if they are returning home. Qantas reportedly said that the flights will go to all capital cities and 36 regional destinations such as Albury, Alice, Springs, Coffs Harbour, Dubbo, Kalgoorlie, Mildura, Port Lincoln, Rockhampton, Tamworth, Townsville and Wagga Wagga.
Virgin airlines further announced that they will be supporting the federal government in returning passengers home and enabling essential travellers to continue flying during unprecedented times. According to a statement, Virgin said that the minimal domestic schedule will enable Virgin Australia to reinstate some its stood down flight, cabin and ground crew, along with other operational team members. As per reports, this new arrangement will last for the next two months and will also be subject to review if there are any issues.
We’re here to help you get home ✈️. Today we announced that we’re bringing back a limited domestic flying schedule from tomorrow until 7 June 2020. Flights will progressively go on sale from tonight, book now: https://t.co/yBaCsIyO0h pic.twitter.com/b8NCW2hyN6— Virgin Australia (@VirginAustralia) April 16, 2020