Border restrictions between Australian states and territories are slowly coming down — but not all at once. Eager to make the most of travellers wanting to holiday wherever they can, airlines are introducing some interesting flights before the Christmas holiday peak.
Some routes are brand new and others are returning after length hiatuses. Either way, here are some of the more interesting new domestic routes you might be able to fly before the year’s end.
Best of all, Qantas Frequent Flyer and Velocity Frequent Flyer members might be able to redeem points for reward seats with their parent airlines Qantas (plus low-cost off-shoot Jetstar) and Virgin Australia, respectively.
New Qantas domestic flights
Qantas is making the most of its dominant position by aggressively rolling out new routes, mostly centred around Canberra, Hobart and regional areas. Flights up to Queensland and down to Tasmania are sure to be popular with people looking for a change of pace.
- Between Sydney and Launceston
- Starting with 3 return services a week from 4 Dec 2020 on a Boeing 717 aircraft
- Between Canberra and Sunshine Coast
- Starting with 3 return services a week from 19 Nov 2020 on a two-class Boeing 717 aircraft
- Between Canberra and Cairns
- Starting with 2 return services a week from 21 Nov 2020 on a two-class Boeing 717 aircraft
- Between Canberra and Hobart
- Starting with 3 return services a week from 4 Dec 2020 on a two-class Boeing 717 aircraft
- Between Canberra and the Gold Coast
- Currently operating from three times a week to daily depending on the season.
- Between Perth and Hobart
- Starting with 3 return services a week from 14 Nov 2020 on a Boeing 737 jet
- Between Brisbane and Hobart
- Starting with 2 return services a week from 4 Dec 2020 on a two-class Boeing 717 aircraft
- Between Sydney and Merimbula
- Starting with 4 return services a week from 18 Dec 2020 on a 50-seat Dash-8 Q300 turboprop
- Between Brisbane and Port Macquarie
- The schedule is dependent on QLD/NSW borders opening
New Jetstar domestic flights
As a low-cost carrier, Jetstar is uniquely positioned to tackle ‘leisure market’ routes where passengers may be more price-conscious. A benefit of this is Jetstar often takes on unusual new routes, opening up more connections.
- Between Gold Coast and Hobart
- Starting with 3 return services a week from 1 Dec 2020 on an Airbus A320
New Virgin Australia domestic flights
Unfortunately with Virgin Australia only just exiting voluntary administration under its new owners, Bain Capital, the carrier has not been in a position to launch new routes. However, it is re-introducing some flights, as follows:
- Between Brisbane and Hamilton Island
- Starting with 10 return services a week from 9 Nov 2020
- Between Brisbane and Adelaide (quarantine restrictions currently in force)
- Starting with 3 return services a day from 16 Nov 2020
- Between Brisbane and Alice Springs
- Commenced with 2 return services a week from 3 Nov 2020
- Between Brisbane and Emerald
- Starting with 5 return services a week from 23 Nov 2020, operated by Alliance Airlines
- Between Sydney and Ballina (Byron)
- Starting with 8 return services a week from 9 Nov 2020
- Between Sydney and Adelaide
- Up to 3 return services a day from 16 Nov 2020
Virgin Australia-operated flights will feature its standard two-class Boeing 737s with eight seats in Business Class, albeit with a significantly reduced onboard offering and no lounges open except at Brisbane (at the time of writing).
Change is certainly in the air. More planes flying high means more staff at work and the all-important tourism dollars within the states that will soon be accepting visitors.
While the above list focuses on newly-introduced routes, keep in mind that major existing links are also seeing big increases in flights within the coming weeks — this includes many capital-city corridors such as Sydney-Melbourne and Perth-Brisbane.
If you’re booking flights with cash, don’t forget to use a points-earning rewards credit card where possible. But if you’re swimming in frequent flyer points and want to put it to your next holiday, then be sure to check out our guide on reward seats and how it works.