Canberra travellers will soon have direct access to two new holiday destinations, as Alliance Airlines prepares to take advantage of the Queensland border reopening.
Canberra Airport has finalised a deal with the airline to begin flights to the Sunshine Coast and Far North Queensland from October 23.
The announcement comes as Queensland will open up to Canberra travellers for the first time on Friday since the state was closed off to the ACT on August 8.
Alliance Airlines will run two flights a week out of Canberra to the new Queensland destinations.
Since the announcement of the reopened Queensland border, just in time for the school holidays, more than 2500 extra flight bookings have been made in a week.
Alliance Airlines flies to 44 destinations across the country and operates to every jurisdiction except Tasmania.
Earlier this year, the Brisbane-based airline signed an $111 million deal to buy 14 Embraer E190 jets from September.
The airline has been aiming to grow its fleet of aircraft as domestic air travel has suffered due to the impact of coronavirus.
As well as offering passenger flights, Alliance has been operating charter flights, including having a contract to transport NRL teams such as the Canberra Raiders to interstate games.
The announcement comes as ACT Labor said it would spend $3 million over the next four years to attract new domestic and international flights to Canberra, including bringing low-cost carriers.
Among some of the options touted were direct flights to and from COVID-safe destinations such as Hobart and Darwin.
Direct flights to New Zealand as part of an international travel bubble would also be targeted in the medium term.
Earlier this week, Canberra Airport chief executive Stephen Byron said talks had been under way with Alliance Airlines along with other smaller airlines to increase flights out of Canberra as borders reopen to ACT travellers.
Talks have also been carried out between the airport and Air Pelican and Corporate Air.
Direct flights between Brisbane, the Gold Coast and Adelaide have increased since Queensland and South Australia reopened borders.
The announcement of new Alliance Airlines flights being launched out of Canberra comes after a difficult period for Canberra Airport.
The airport suffered a 98 per cent reduction in passenger numbers due to coronavirus and the airport was closed on certain days due to the lack of flights.
Singapore Airlines recently announced it would stop operations to the airport due to the downturn in the sector brought on by the pandemic.
The airport will operate seven days a week again from October following a recent demand for domestic flights brought on by reopening state borders.
Mr Byron said talks were also ongoing to try and establish flights to Tasmania.
A Tasmanian government spokeswoman said considerations were being made to potential bring forward the date of easing border restrictions with the ACT, along with low-risk jurisdictions such as Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia and the NT.
“This enables adequate time to ensure the transmission risk with Victoria on other states is as low as can be, and ensures the necessary systems and processes are in place,” the spokeswoman said.
The Tasmanian border will remain closed until at least December 1 under current restrictions laid out by the state government.