Another Australian airport is benefiting from the imminent re-opening of borders between New South Wales and Victoria. After been firmly closed for four months, New South Wales will lift its border gate on November 23. In anticipation of a boom in traffic between Australia’s two most populous states, airlines are once again laying on capacity. The latest is Jetstar, who today announced they would resume flying from Avalon once again.
Avalon Airport will open for business once again
Low profile Avalon Airport is Melbourne’s second passenger airport and a handy alternative to the normally busy Tullamarine Airport. Along with Indonesia’s Citilink and AirAsia X, Jetstar operated out of Avalon until earlier this year.
But it has been nine months since Jetstar last flew from Avalon. However, the airline announced today that they would resume flying a twice-daily return service to Sydney from December 18. Jetstar’s CEO, Gareth Evans, said today;
“We’ve seen huge demand for flights between Victoria and New South Wales since last week’s announcement [of the border re-opening]. This is an exciting milestone in rebuilding our network.”
Avalon Airport, normally a fairly quiet airport at the best of times, is pleased to have its key airline flying in again. Justin Giddings, CEO at Avalon Airport, said today;
“It has been a long COVID period for everyone, and we thank Jetstar for their ongoing long-term commitment to Avalon and our loyal customers.”
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Qantas and Jetstar add capacity between Sydney and Melbourne
It’s not just Jetstar that is stepping up services between New South Wales and Victoria. Qantas and Virgin Australia are adding capacity to their schedules later this month.
The border reopening will see Qantas lift its flying to 40% of its regular domestic capacity, up from the current 30%. Qantas currently operates around 10 return services a week on the route between Sydney and Melbourne. By the end of November, this will increase to 75 return services a week.
“November 23 will be a day many people will now be looking forward to,” said Qantas CEO of Domestic and International Operations, Andrew David, last week.
“Pre-COVID, Melbourne-Sydney was the busiest air route in Australia and the second busiest in the world. On a busy day, Qantas and Jetstar would operate more than 100 flights per day between New South Wales and Victoria. During the lockdown, our schedule reduced to as low as one flight a day.”
In addition to flying between Avalon and Sydney, Jetstar will also fly 42 weekly return services between Melbourne (Tullamarine) and Sydney from November 23.
Virgin Australia welcomes the border re-opening
Over at Virgin Australia, four return flights a day will soon operate between Melbourne and Sydney. Frequencies will increase as Christmas draws near. Virgin Australia spokesperson Kris Taute said the border re-opening would restore confidence in the tourism and aviation sectors. He said the re-opening would provide certainty in terms of jobs and the airline’s ability to increase flying.
“An open border between New South Wales and Victoria allows us to bring more of our team members back to work and gives customers the ability to do business,” said Mr Taute when the announcement of the border re-opening was made.
Meanwhile, there will be additional competition on the route when REX starts flying jets between Sydney and Melbourne early next year. The first of six Boeing 737-800s has already arrived in Sydney and was spied parked at Sydney’s T2 over the weekend.
The route between Sydney and Melbourne is normally a gold mine for the airlines that fly it. After a lean year, they’ll welcome the border re-opening later this month and the uptick in traffic between the two cities that will come with it.