With more state borders set to re-open next month, airlines servicing regional Australia are beginning to look at increasing the number of flights to meet expected demand.
Qantas and Jetstar will increase domestic and regional flying for June and July. The additional services will increase capacity from five per cent of pre-coronavirus levels to 15 per cent by the end of June.
This equates to more than 300 more return flights per week.
Additional flights will likely operate during July depending on travel demand and further relaxation of state border controls, with the ability to increase to up to 40 per cent of the group's pre-crisis domestic capacity by the end of July.
Qantas Group chief executive Alan Joyce said the company was well aware there is a lot of "pent up demand for air travel".
"We are already seeing a big increase in customers booking and planning flights in the weeks and months ahead," Mr Joyce said.
Meanwhile, Regional Express (Rex) announced last week it would increase its schedule in response to QantasLink's actions to more than double its flights to ports that are in competition with Rex.
From July 6, Rex will be providing daily weekday return services to these competitive routes and will also provide twice-daily return services on certain days in order to facilitate day-return travel.
Routes included are Sydney to Wagga, Albury, Dubbo, Ballina and Orange and Mildura to Melbourne. In South Australia, Regional Express will increase daily services from Adelaide to Whyalla, Port Lincoln and Kangaroo Island.
Webjet OTA CEO David Galt confirmed that as Australia emerges from lockdown and restrictions ease, travel is now firmly back on the agenda for most Australians.
"We have seen a 33 per cent increase in flight searches on webjet.com.au for travel from April to May, and our data shows this is due to many looking for last-minute getaways to explore and support regional communities around Australia.
"With our international borders presently closed, now is a key opportunity for people to discover new or rediscover favourite destinations around Australia including many regional spots off the beaten track.
"Domestic tourism has steadily been on the rise in recent years. Our data shows that in 2019, places like Port Macquarie saw a bookings increase of almost 30 per cent (29.7%), while in Victoria, Geelong has seen a 21 per cent rise in interest, and in WA, Broome is booming with an 18 per cent spike in flight bookings."
Here are just some of the flights (one way) leaving a cross-section of the nation's regional airports.
FLIGHTS PER WEEK, LOCATIONS
Albury (ABX) 10 (Sydney, Melbourne)
Armidale (ARM) 6 (Sydney, Brisbane)
Ballina Byron (BNK) 19 (Sydney, Newcastle, Melbourne)
Broome (BME) 14 (Perth, Darwin)
Bundaberg (BDB) 9 (Gladstone, Brisbane)
Charleville (CTL) 6 (Toowoomba, Roma)
Coffs Harbour (CFS) 9 (Sydney)
Devonport (DPO) 0
Dubbo (DBO) 27 (Sydney, Broken Hill, Newcastle)
Emerald (EMD) 27 (Brisbane, Sunshine Coast)
Fraser Coast-Hervey Bay (HVB) 2 (Brisbane)
Gladstone (GLT) 12 (Brisbane)
Learmonth-Exmouth (LEA) 9 (Perth)
Longreach (LRE) 6 (Winton, Brisbane)
Lord Howe Island (LDH) 2 (Sydney)
Mackay (MKY) 48 (Brisbane, Rockhampton, Townsville)
Mildura (MQL) 8 (Melbourne)
Moree (MRZ) 3 (Sydney)
Mount Isa (ISA) 29 (Brisbane, Cairns)
Newman (ZNE) 36 (Perth)
Port Hedland (PHE) 35 (Perth)
Port Lincoln (PLO) 11 (Adelaide)
Port Macquarie (PQQ) 9 (Sydney)
Proserpine Whitsunday Coast (PPP) 4 (Brisbane)
Rockhampton (ROK) 32 (Brisbane, Mackay)
Roma (RMA) 10 (Brisbane)
Sunshine Coast (MCY) 5 (Brisbane, Emerald)
Tamworth (TMW) 8 (Sydney, Brisbane)
Toowoomba-Brisbane West Wellcamp (WTB) 10
Wagga Wagga (WGA) 7 (Sydney)
Weipa (WEI) 4 (Cairns)
Whyalla (WYA) 6 (Adelaide)
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