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Capacity on domestic flights in and out of Brisbane Airport will increase by 7000 seats a day when Queensland’s border reopens on July 10.
The demand, which will see almost two-dozen extra flights a day, would have been greater had Victoria not been excluded from Queensland’s safe border travel.
Brisbane Airport Corporation general manager Jim Parashos said seating capacity could be even higher if sales demand predictions proved accurate.
Brisbane Airport's domestic flight schedule was 60 per cent of capacity, while international travel was between 2 per cent and 3 per cent, before Tuesday's announcement that Queensland's borders would reopen soon.
“Forward airline schedules are indicating that Brisbane’s domestic capacity will increase by 25 per cent in the week after July 10, compared with seats scheduled for the prior week,” Mr Parashos said.
“If the airlines experience strong demand, greater capacity growth is likely.
“The pace that flights increase in the future will depend on consumers' demand for travel.”
In the first week after July 10, the number of available passenger seats in and out of Brisbane will increase from 15,000 seats a day to 22,000 seats.
Demand will add an extra 22 flights in and out of Brisbane; up from 108 flights a day to 130 flights a day, Mr Parashos said.
Before the coronavirus pandemic, flights from Melbourne comprised about 16 per cent of all flights - about 2050 flights a month - to and from Brisbane.
Mr Parashos said the number of flights from Melbourne would decrease from July 10 in light of the Queensland government’s decision to restrict entry from Victoria because of the spike in COVID-19 cases in that state.
“Before Melbourne's COVID-19 spike, our forward estimate schedules indicate the airlines plan to double the number of Brisbane-to-Melbourne return flights seen in June 2020,” he said.
Last month the flights between Melbourne and Brisbane had reduced to 12 per cent of Brisbane’s air traffic.
“With five to six daily Brisbane-to-Melbourne services scheduled at the moment, we expect that there will be some travellers choosing to cancel travel plans, while others will be making new bookings to return,” Mr Parashos said.
“So this may balance out demand in the coming days.”
Current airport restrictions for Queensland
• Queensland Police, SES, Defence Force and Queensland Health representatives process all interstate arrivals.
• All passengers entering the state must have a Queensland Entry Pass or exemption.
• Passengers are met at the gate after disembarking, assessed via verbal questionnaire and directed to the health screening point for further assessment.
• If accepted, they are required to complete an ‘intent to isolate’ declaration and are able to leave.
• If rejected, they are held by police and put on a flight to their origin.
• From noon on Friday, July 3, anyone who has travelled from Victoria – including Queenslanders - will be prevented from entering Queensland unless they quarantine at a hotel at their own expense for two weeks.
• Travellers on Qantas and Jetstar will wear masks and receive antiseptic wipes. All seats are sold. Airlines say aircraft conditioning removes 99 per cent of gems.
The Gold Coast Airport at Coolangatta and Sunshine Coast Airport at Maroochydore will progressively increase flights.
Passenger numbers for Gold Coast Airport were down by 469,000 in May 2020 compared with May 2019, chief executive officer Chris Mills said.
"Preliminary numbers showed that only about 2000 people were welcomed by the Gold Coast Airport team [in May] compared to 471,409 in May last year.
"Similar reductions were recorded in April," he said.
Mr Mills said the decision to open borders from July 10 to domestic locations outside Victoria was a "sensible compromise".
However, he said it would take time to rebuild the flights back to Coolangatta.
"There is pent-up demand for travel, but recovery will still take some time," Mr Mills said.
"We don’t expect a return to the flight schedules we saw before the pandemic for a while."
Sunshine Coast Airport chief executive officer Andrew Brodie said regular passenger flights between Sunshine Coast and Sydney would begin from July 10.
“From next Friday, we’ll host a daily flight to Sydney with Jetstar and up to five services a week with Virgin Australia,” he said.
“We anticipate that offering will grow as further border and travel restrictions are lifted.”
The Sunshine Coast Airport begins flights to north Queensland from July 17.
“We’re also incredibly excited to launch our new three-times-a-week Cairns service from Friday, July 17, with Alliance Airlines, marking the first time ever we’ve flown north from the Sunshine Coast,” , he said.