Overnight, the Australian Government unveiled a $1.2b aviation support package, primarily designed to provide extra financial assistance to keep airlines running. But passengers will benefit too, with certain routes getting fares slashed by 50% to boost tourism.
Half-price travel to a range of regional towns
Thirteen regions, which primarily rely on international tourism, will be eligible for the discount. To counter claims of ‘price jacking, Qantas says the price cut will be based on “median prices to key regional destinations.” Those places are:
- Queensland: Gold Coast, Cairns, Whitsundays, Sunshine Coast
- Northern Territory: Uluru, Alice Springs
- Tasmania: Launceston, Devonport, Burnie
- Western Australia: Broome
- South Australia: Kangaroo Island
- New South Wales: Merimbula
- Victoria: Avalon
The scheme will kick-in from April to July, with Qantas, Virgin Australia, and Jetstar expected to the main beneficiaries on those routes. Further details are expected in the coming weeks.
Support scheme welcomed with open arms
Jayne Hrdlicka, Virgin Australia CEO, said the package would play a ‘vital role in … stimulating tourism, jobs, and investment across Australia’.
This isn’t just good news for us, this is good news for all Australians. The economic impact this will have cannot be underestimated. This is a once in a generation event that is going to give the entire tourism industry supply chain a significant boost, which it desperately needs.– Jayne Hrdlicka, Virgin Australia CEO, 11 March 2021
Qantas Group CEO, Alan Joyce, also welcomed the initiative and remarked it would help bring domestic crews back to work faster.
With the vaccine rollout now giving more certainty that state borders will stay open, this is the perfect time to provide stimulus and get people travelling domestically again, particularly given there won’t be any international tourists for another seven months– Alan Joyce, Qantas Group CEO, 11 March 2021
Virgin Australia is currently operating at 50% of its pre-pandemic capacity and is aiming to ramp this up to 70% by the Easter break, just 3 weeks away. This is also coinciding with the airlines’ upcoming relaunch of Business Class service and the Economy buy-on-board menu.
Meanwhile, the Red Roo is sitting pretty at 60% of pre-pandemic domestic flying levels and is looking to boost this to 80% before July 2021. The group estimates that around 550,000 discount fares across Qantas and Jetstar will be offered, which will help improve capacity.
Frequent flyers will continue to be able to earn Velocity Points and Qantas Points on eligible discounted flights, though the 50% subsidy isn’t expected to extend to reward seat bookings at this stage.