Virgin Australia is thoughts to have recorded its highest number of bookings in one day since before the pandemic began, while Qantas and Jetstar recorded 130,000 bookings in under 12 hours, following the release of the Australian federal government’s half-price flights programme.
Despite a quarter of the available subsidised flights being sold on the first day, the tourism industry has warned that the boost will not be enough to fill the void left by the end of jobkeeper payments.
The news coincided with Queensland’s government announcement of an early end to a new lockdown in Brisbane.
More than 50,000 Qantas flights and 45,000 Jetstar flights were sold in the first 11 hours of the promotion, with Maroochydore, the Gold Coast, Cairns, Adelaide, Darwin and Hobart among the most popular destinations.
Virgin Australia said it was on track to record its biggest day of bookings since the coronavirus pandemic began, recording a 600% increase in flight bookings, a 600% increase in flight searches, and a tripling of website traffic compared to the previous week.
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”.
Gschwind said while the half-price flights were welcome, they were not enough to support accommodation providers still reeling from the loss of international visitors.
“It’s a measure we support, and we urge people to get on board with it,” he said. “But it does not alleviate all the stress on providers who are still hurting from the international border closures and domestic border closures.”