Thousands of travellers are preparing to take off to Western Australia with the border opening to all visitors quarantine free for the first time in almost two years from midnight tonight.
After a false start last month, more than 23,000 passengers are booked to travel this week on Qantas and Jetstar flights to and from Perth.
Several of the 31 Qantas and Jetstar flights on day one of opening are full, as eager Australians rush to reunite with friends and family or get back to business in the West.
QF653 from Sydney to Perth is scheduled to be the first domestic flight to touch down at 12.05am, with JQ972 Melbourne to Perth the first Jetstar flight to arrive at 7.10am.
Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce welcomed the border reopening and said it is time for Australia to move forward with confidence as the world emerges from a COVID travel pause.
“The past two years have been incredibly challenging for people who have been separated from friends and family in WA for most of that time, so it will be an emotional day for those reuniting with loved ones.
“Australia is now finally back together. This day has been a long time coming. It’s a terrific boost to West Australian tourism operators and businesses who will once again benefit from the influx of visitors from the east coast and beyond.
“We had to cancel thousands of flights when the border reopening was cancelled in February and tens of thousands of travellers had their plans ruined, but while the reopening has been complicated, it’s great that Aussies can now travel freely again.”
Since the reopening date for WA was announced on 18 February, Qantas and Jetstar have added around 60 return interstate flights each week in March – representing around 40 per cent of the Group’s pre-COVID capacity. This ramps up in April, particularly around the school holiday period as travel demand recovers.
Flights have been added from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Cairns, Gold Coast, Canberra, Hobart and Darwin.
During COVID lockdown periods Qantas was flying as few as three return interstate flights a week into Perth.
Qantas Frequent Flyer put on two Points Planes between Sydney and Perth for the first day of WA border reopening, which meant Qantas Points, in addition to cash, could be used to buy every seat on the plane.
Qantas flies a mix of Boeing 737s and wide-body A330s to Perth, with fast, free Wi-Fi on board. Qantas is the only airline operating wide-body aircraft on domestic flights to Perth, with lie-flat Business Suites and inflight entertainment screens built into every seat in every cabin.
Three Qantas domestic lounges are open in Perth, along with 33 around Australia.