The Australian federal government recently released half-price domestic flights, prompting Virgin Australia to be on track to record its highest number of bookings in one day since before the pandemic began. Qantas and Jetstar also recorded 130,000 bookings in under 12 hours, following the move.
More than 50,000 Qantas fares and 45,000 Jetstar fares were sold in the first 11 hours of the half-off flight program, which launched on Thursday, with Maroochydore, the Gold Coast, Cairns, Adelaide, Darwin and Hobart among the most popular destinations. By 3pm they had sold a combined 130,000 flights.
Virgin Australia said it was set to record its biggest day of bookings since the pandemic began, recording a 600 per cent increase in flight bookings, a 600 per cent increase in flight searches, and a tripling of website traffic compared to last week.
The avalanche of sales was helped along by the Queensland government announcing an early end to the Brisbane lockdown, with residents able to travel for the Easter weekend – nine of the top 10 routes booked since the offer opened involved a Queensland port.
It was hoped the flights would help boost the struggling aviation industry, however tourism bosses have said more support is still needed. The Queensland Tourism Industry Council chief executive, Daniel Gschwind, said the early end to the greater Brisbane lockdown, coupled with the release of half-price flights, was a “huge relief”, but “it does not alleviate all the stress on providers who are still hurting from the international border closures and domestic border closures.”