National

Skies open for cash-starved Queensland tourism sector

Skies open for cash-starved Queensland tourism sector
Queensland's decision to open its borders to all of New South Wales and Victoria will trigger a wave of passenger jets, travellers and cash into the cash-starved state.
Qantas and Jetstar will operate more than 1200 extra return flights into the Sunshine State from NSW and Victoria in the lead up to Christmas.
From December 1, the two airlines will operate more than 250 return flights per week across seven routes from Sydney, compared to just 36 return flights per week currently.
Qantas aircraft are seen on the tarmac at Sydney Airport. (AAP)
Virgin Australia will also ramp up its frequency of flights from Sydney into popular Queensland destinations and airports.
Pending a final decision from the Queensland Government, Qantas and Jetstar will also operate more than 160 flights per week from Melbourne from December 1.
Qantas boss Alan Joyce thanked Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk for today's decision.
"This is news that many families have been waiting so long to hear," Mr Joyce said.
"Based on the demand we're seeing already, Queenslanders can expect to welcome a lot more visitors in the next few months."
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Queensland's tourism and business leaders have been frustrated by Ms Palaszczuk's refusal to allow Sydneysiders into the state.
Some estimated Queensland's tourism sector was losing $6 million a day during the toughest coronavirus lockdowns.
Virgin Australia's scheduling boss Russell Shaw said the Queensland Government's decision to reopen the border with Greater Sydney will help the airline and tourism industry to get back on its feet and put more people back to work.
From December 1, Virgin will significantly increase or resume flights on Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Hamilton Island and Whitsunday Coast routes.