Jetstar will fly into Canberra for the first time, with a Canberra to Brisbane service launching in September.
The low-cost carrier announced it will operate five return services a week between Canberra and the Queensland Capital on an Airbus A320 aircraft from 2 September.
Just in time for Floriade, ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr said the Jetstar service, that comes after much lobbying from the ACT Government, is a “game changer” for the Territory.
“I think the domestic aviation network is as strong as it’s ever been out of Canberra,” he said today.
“Jetstar’s entry to the Canberra market will not only make travel from South East Queensland to Canberra cheaper and easier, but it will provide an opportunity to work with the popular carrier to promote our city across their extensive network,” he said.
The airline’s announcement comes as Australia experiences a surge in domestic travel with international borders to remain shut for the foreseeable future.
Jetstar CEO Gareth Evans said he expects the route would be immediately popular and didn’t rule out exploring other routes to and from Canberra.
“Canberrans are probably no different to other people, they like to go on holiday. So we expect to see a lot of demand outbound from Canberra [to Brisbane], but Canberra’s a great place to visit as well,” he said.
Canberra Airport CEO Stephen Byron said he hoped the new route would lead to a “more regular” presence for Jetstar in Canberra.
“It is such an exciting time for aviation in Canberra. We are now directly connected to 12 destinations across the country and it is a fantastic result for the region when confidence in travel is growing and leisure travel is strong,” he said.
Jetstar is offering a flash sale of $75 fares one way on the route from today, but Mr Evans estimated the average fare for the Canberra-Brisbane service would sit at around $89 one-way long-term.
The announcement is the latest in a string of new domestic routes from Canberra Airport including those from Rex, Alliance Airlines and Link Airways.
The Chief Minister has also been campaigning for the return of trans-Tasman flights from Canberra Airport, recently visiting New Zealand to argue the case.