When will we be able to travel again?

Thousands fly in as border wall falls

 

Families will be reunited and thousands of staff returned to work on Tuesday when Queensland's hard border barricade finally falls after several months.

Australia's two major airlines Qantas and Virgin Australia have recorded a staggering increase in bookings and inquiries in the week since Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk revealed the border would open.

Virgin Australia has booked about 100,000 seats to Queensland destinations in the past week, with three quarters for travel in the lead up to and during Christmas.

 

 

About 9000 passengers are booked to travel on Tuesday with the first Qantas and Jetstar flights from Sydney and Melbourne to Queensland.

More than 1200 Qantas and Jetstar staff will also return to work in December as a result of the border reopening.

For Qantas Captain Alex Shaw and twin sister Heather Mather, a flight attendant, the resumption of flying is almost a dream come true.

 

Qantas twins Heather Mather and Alex Shaw have returned to the skies full time as the state's border reopens to Sydney and Victoria. Picture: David Clark
Qantas twins Heather Mather and Alex Shaw have returned to the skies full time as the state's border reopens to Sydney and Victoria. Picture: David Clark

 

The twins have done little flying since COVID-19 forced Qantas to ground 90 per cent of its aircraft fleet in the most significant aviation challenge in a generation.

Qantas and Jetstar will operate more than 420 return flights per week across 19 routes between Queensland and both New South Wales and Victoria - compared to just 40 when borders were closed.

Mr Shaw, a Captain for 17 years, said the past eight months had been unlike anything he has experienced.

"There's no doubt that this is the most tumultuous period in my aviation career," he said.

"We work in an industry where there are almost continual shocks, things go up and down. "We've had SARS, September 11 and the Gulf Wars but for the company none of those compare to this."

 

 

His sister Ms Mather, a Brisbane-based cabin steward, said the sector had been devastated.

"I've been flying one month on, one month off - mostly up to Mackay and a couple of trips to Perth where you have to be in your hotel room because of quarantine," she said.

"With the Queensland border opening, it feels like we're slowly getting back to normal."

 

 

 

 

Originally published as Thousands fly in as border wall falls


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