As Melbourne grapples with the increase in confirmed corona virus cases and selected postcode reintroduced lockdowns, regional NSW is set to reboot its tourism industry with an announcement today from Qantas celebrating the launch of two new routes to regional NSW.
The first Qantas flight between Sydney and Byron Bay (Ballina) in 15 years departed today and the airline has confirmed its first ever flights to Orange will begin on July 20. This comes at an ideal time for tourism operators with the recent opening of The Surf House hotel in Byron, and the just announced news confirming the go-ahead for the 2020 Orange Winter Fire festival, running from July 31 to August 2.
Qantas explains the additional routes are part of the gradual ramping up of Qantas and Jetstar domestic flights, which could get up to 40 per cent of pre-Coronavirus capacity levels this month.
QantasLink CEO John Gissing said the recent spike in bookings demonstrates there is significant pent up demand for Australians to take a holiday after months of lockdown.
‘As the national carrier we have an important role to play in driving tourism and reviving the industry that has been devastated by COVID-19,’ Mr Gissing said.
“These additional flights are coming at the right time for families who’ve spent much of the recent months confined to their homes and are looking forward to getting out and exploring their own State.’
The new services from Sydney will help connect local travellers to the ever-popular coastal hub of Byron Bay and Orange’s renowned food and wine scene.
‘Byron Bay continues to be an incredibly popular destination for holidaymakers of all types, and was one of the most in demand destinations for Qantas and Jetstar over the past month,’ Mr Gissing explained.
After years of locals calling for the flying kangaroo to fly to Orange, the iconic red tail will touch down there for the first time in a few weeks. ‘We are bringing much needed competition to the route, which has been a monopoly for many years.’
‘These flights to Orange will make it easier for Sydney residents to discover one of NSW’s most beautiful regions and its world-class restaurants and wineries.’
The airline will operate three weekly return services between Sydney and Orange on its Q200 aircraft from 20 July, with plans to increase frequency later in the year.
Customers now have greater flexibility when they book, with the ability to change the date of their flight once, without paying a change fee. Customers will have to cover any fare increase (if relevant) for the new booking. All customers are also encouraged to download the Australian Government’s COVIDSafe app and anyone with cold and flu like symptoms should stay at home.
Qantas Flight Bookings
The Surf House
23 Lawson Street, Byron Bay, NSW 2481
Tel 02 66 858750