Canberra Airport is trying to get more airlines flying out of the national capital, as restrictions are being lifted led to a surge in ticket sales.
The airport’s chief executive, Stephen Byron, was expecting Qantas and Virgin to put on more flights soon. He said talks were also under way on increasing the number of airlines operating between Canberra and other cities.
“We’re talking to companies like Corporate Air and Air Pelican and also to Alliance Airlines, so we’re working hard on new operations,” Mr Byron said.
Before the border reopening announcement, the airport was only receiving 700 passengers per week.
The Queensland border will reopen to ACT residents from 1am Friday.
Mr Byron said it was likely further flights would be added to the airport’s schedule due to the demand.
“What we’re seeing is strong demand, particularly to Brisbane, the Gold Coast and to Adelaide,” Mr Byron told The Canberra Times.
“With Qantas and Virgin adding flights, they’ll keep doing it while people continue to book airline tickets.”
Virgin operates three flights a week from Canberra to Brisbane and another two from Canberra to the Gold Coast.
An airline spokeswoman said as demand for travel between the two jurisdictions grew, Virgin would look at increasing services to the two Queensland destinations.
“The safe reopening of Queensland’s border to residents of the ACT will help our aviation and tourism sectors to recover, as well as provide the opportunity for Australians to experience their own backyard,” the spokeswoman said.
With the announcement on Tuesday that South Australia will reopen its borders with NSW from Thursday, Mr Byron hoped airline bookings from residents in regional NSW areas near Canberra would also rise.
“I think we’ll be seeing Adelaide reopen to people in surrounding areas,” Mr Byron said.
“Hopefully the situation can be relaxed for NSW and surrounding areas around Canberra to allow them to fly up to Queensland.”
One of the Canberrans looking forward to a trip to the sunshine state is Tuggeranong resident Jacqui Fisher.
After having to cancel her two-week trip to Queensland to visit family due to the border closure, she then quickly booked a new trip.
“As soon as Queensland said they were opening, we got online and booked,” Ms Fisher said.
“It wasn’t easy to find a flight. There weren’t too many options to choose from.”