$39 flights plus full list of where and when you can fly


FLIGHTS as cheap as $39 are back in a sign of recovery to rebuild the "broken jigsaw puzzle" of the $26 billion-a-year state tourism industry.

Business, tourism and civic leaders hailed the Qantas and Jetstar announcement that domestic flights would take off by July as a turning point in the COVID-19 economic crisis.

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Brooke Hoffmann and Connor Roduner arrive at the Brisbane airport from Cairns. Picture: John Gass
Brooke Hoffmann and Connor Roduner arrive at the Brisbane airport from Cairns. Picture: John Gass


Jetstar fired first in the price war and put on $39 seats one-way to the Whitsundays Airport. It comes after a $99 offer by Alliance Air sold 600 tickets in 10 hours on Wednesday.

Flights from Brisbane to Cairns will be as low as $69 one-way from next month.

Extra flights will connect to Townsville, Mackay, Rockhampton, Gladstone, Emerald, Weipa and Horn Island.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said it was part of the "Unite and Recover" plan.

"Airlines are bouncing back," she said. "Our plan to protect the health of Queenslanders is working. Our plan for economic recovery is working too.''

Brisbane Airport Corp chief Gert-Jan de Graaff said: "This is the light at the end of the tunnel we have all been waiting for. Not only do these flights signal the beginning of recovery from COVID-19, it is a lifesaving breath of air.

"We are looking forward to welcoming back our airline partners and seeing travellers in our terminals again."



Latest figures show the state's $18 billion-a-year domestic tourist market, part of the total $26 billion industry, came to a standstill. It came at a cost of about $53 million a day to the state's economy.

Most airlines and flights were all but grounded - and Virgin went into receivership - because of travel restrictions under the global pandemic.

"We know there is a lot of pent up demand for air travel," Qantas boss Alan Joyce said. "We can quickly ramp up flying in time for the July school holidays if border restrictions have eased more by then."

Medical experts say the risk of contracting coronavirus on an aircraft is low but there will be changes to the way passengers fly such as masks and sanitising wipes, Mr Joyce said.


Queensland Tourism Industry Council boss Daniel Gschwind said: "These flights are what we've been waiting for, it is such a relief.

"Tourism is a complicated jigsaw puzzle, and once ripped apart and broken, it's hard to put back together again."

Cairns Airport chief Norris Carter said the decision by Qantas spelled the "end of hibernation" for the region.

"We've had some flights for essential travel, and we know those flights were oversubscribed, and there has been no tourism,'' Mr Carter said.

"With lifting of tourism in Queensland we can start to see people coming up here from the southeast corner."

Mr Carter said many of the 6000 jobs linked to the airport could now look to return.

"As flights come back, it gives a chance for people to get back to work," he said.


Originally published as $39 flights plus full list of where and when you can fly