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Australia’s big three airlines have released some really cheap fares as part of the federal government 1.2 Billion push to kick start the battered tourism industry.
Tickets went up for sale from midnight last night, Qantas, Jetstar and Virgin Australia have slashed the prices on airfares until the end of July on trips from mid-April until the end of September.
Qantas and Jetstar have released half-price fares to 15 destinations, focused on getting tourists to regions hardest hit by international borders being closed, including Cairns, Townsville, the Whitsunday Coast/Hamilton Island, the Sunshine Coast, Darwin, Alice Springs, Hobart, Launceston, Devonport, Broome, Avalon, Merimbula, Adelaide, Kangaroo Island and the Gold Coast.
Qantas has also launched an ‘Everywhere Else’ sale with discounted fares to more than 50 destinations across more than 200 routes until 8 April for travel until the end of the year.
“While the Brisbane lockdown has unfortunately impacted some Easter holiday plans, we know this is a temporary setback and the vaccine rollout will help make border restrictions a thing of the past,” said Andrew David, CEO of Qantas’ domestic and international operations.
“With this sale, now is a great time to book your holidays and weekends away for the rest of the year.
“Almost every destination that Qantas and Jetstar fly to is on sale, including plenty of chances to grab half-price fares as part of the government’s tourism stimulus package.
“Most fares are outside peak times, which is when these regions need more tourists to visit. They mean more people will stay in hotels, go to restaurants and book tours, and they also mean we can get more of our people back to work.”
Virgin has put 260,000 half-priced economy seats on sale across nine regions and 25 destinations, including the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Cairns and the Whitsundays, despite the evolving COVID-19 situation in Greater Brisbane.
The airline will also reward loyal Platinum and Gold Velocity members who have booked or travelled between 7 December 2020 and 28 March 2021, with a status extension of up to 18 months.
The status extension will see eligible members receive complimentary Lounge access, priority boarding, preferential seating, a higher checked baggage allowance, and lucrative bonus points.
Virgin Australia Group CEO Jayne Hrdlicka said that despite the current border challenges, the news of half-priced airfares will give regions a sense of hope and deliver a much-needed boost for thousands of tourism businesses who are still doing it tough.
“While there are short-term constraints around travelling to some destinations at the moment, the good news is that our half-price tickets can be used for travel up to the end of September,” she said.
“With the vaccine rollout underway, these half-priced fares will support jobs and the nation’s economic recovery over the next six months. There’s never been a better time to plan and get on with travelling around Australia.”
Meanwhile, further details of the federal government’s $130 million Consumer Travel Support package ’round two’ for eligible travel agents, companies and operators have still not been released, with the Austrade website only stating that an update is expected ‘In April’.
As the worst-hit sector thanks to COVID-19, numerous travel agents and businesses have already reported job losses and closures this week in light of JobKeeper ending.
Sadly, this will undoubtedly be just the beginning with many more to follow in the coming weeks and months.
So will the AUD1.2 billion federal stimulus program help rescue the travel industry and give people the confidence to commit to travelling again?