Qantas studies surge in home bookings as state borders open By Reuters

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Aircrew members clean an aircraft as Qantas begins preparing and equipping aircraft for return international flights, in anticipation of Australia easing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) border regulations at Sydney Airport

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Qantas Airways Ltd announced on Friday that nearly 500,000 domestic bookings had been made in the past two weeks as states began opening their borders, up from around 20,000 in a two-week period in August when parts of the Country have been blocked.

“Travel demand and confidence are high,” said Alan Joyce, Qantas chief executive, at the airline’s annual meeting.

“Domestically, the important Melbourne-Sydney route has started to be ramped up,” he said. “And most states have outlined plans to open their borders before Christmas – one of the busiest travel times of the year.”

The airline said it would provide a more detailed update to the market next month at a time when international travel is also returning.

Australia relaxed its international border restrictions for the first time during the pandemic on Monday, allowing some of its vaccinated public to travel freely and allowing many families to reunite, sparking emotional hugs at airports.

Qantas said last month that all of the airline’s 11,000 unpaid employees, roughly half of the workforce, will be back to work by early December as domestic and international air traffic returns to normal.

Qantas chairman Richard Goyder said the airline is on track to select preferred suppliers for an order of more than 100 aircraft to replace its current domestic fleet by the end of the calendar year.

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