Canberra Airport is a big winner in the ACT border reopening to Victoria, as return flights between Canberra and Melbourne increase by over 300%.
The first flight of passengers arrived from Melbourne just after 9am today, with no need for a quarantine period for the first time since 8 July.
Canberra Airport head of aviation Michael Thomson said he was pleased to see the borders reopen to Melbourne, which was one of the most popular destinations from Canberra Airport.
“From today our flight numbers to and from Melbourne increase from eight flights per week to 37 per week,” he said.
“Melbourne has historically been our biggest domestic market and we are looking forward to seeing loved ones reunite and business travel recommence between our two cities.”
In total, Canberra Airport has increased its weekly flight schedule from 106 flights per week last week, to 151 flights per week.
ACT Chief Health Officer Dr Kerryn Coleman had previously flagged 23 November as the border reopening date, but officially confirmed that date on Friday last week.
The decision had only been made tentatively to begin with, in order to observe any ramifications of Victoria easing its restrictions after a second wave of COVID-19.
Popular coach company Greyhound Australia also restarted its Canberra to Melbourne route on Monday, after pre-selling tickets once the border announcement was made.
Greyhound Australia marketing and communication manager Michael Leard said the daily services would be back in service, with the company keeping an eye on further demand.
“At this time of year we would usually be trying to increase those services but we are running one daily and watching how the market goes,” he said.
“Tickets have pre-sold well considering people are readjusting to a new normal but they are in no way up to where they were. This time of year is extremely busy so it couldn’t have come at a better time and we are really excited to see the route back.”
The coach company has enacted its COVID-safe plan including lance cleaning, face masks for purchase and customers are advised to load their own luggage to minimise contact.
On Friday 20 November, Dr Coleman also advised ACT residents that travel to South Australia should be limited unless essential, after SA recorded 26 COVID-19 cases in relation to the Parafield cluster.
ACT residents can now travel to 12 destinations direct from the Canberra Airport, including Adelaide, Ballina/Byron, Brisbane, Cairns, Gold Coast, Hobart, Melbourne, Newcastle, Perth, Port Macquarie, Sunshine Coast and Sydney.
The airport continues to recover from a 98% downturn in passengers during the COVID-19 lockdown, while it was operating at just six days per week.