Townsville Bulletin

Searches take off as travel on radar


QANTAS has seen searches of its internatio­nal flights almost triple in the past week after the airline announced its intention to restart overseas travel from December 18.

Data compiled by the Qantas digital team showed searches surged a whopping 175 per cent, with flights from Sydney and Melbourne to London proving most popular.

Other flights attracting huge interest included Sydney to Los Angles, Sydney to Singapore and Sydney to Tokyo, with most people looking to get away as soon as borders reopen.

Qantas internatio­nal chief executive Andrew David said it was clear Australian­s “could not wait to get back on an aircraft and head overseas again”.

“So many people have missed out on seeing loved ones who live overseas or taking a well-deserved break,” Mr David said.

“While it’s up to government to determine exactly how and when our internatio­nal borders re-open, Australia is on track to meet the 80 per cent vaccinatio­n trigger by December, which means internatio­nal travel is within reach.”

Mr David’s comments came as Qantas boss Alan Joyce kicked-off a “Let’s get on with the jab” conversati­on series hosted by the Trans-tasman Business Circle.

Mr Joyce said as the national carrier, Qantas “had an obligation to try and lead the national dialogue” through mandating vaccinatio­n for its own staff as well as widely promoting the jab.

“(To that end) we came out with this great, amazing, emotive ad to try and get people to see some positive reasons to get vaccinated – the trip to see the loved ones overseas, the holiday with the kids overseas – and it was amazing,” Mr Joyce said.

Since the ad was released late last month, more than 300,000 people had uploaded their vaccinatio­n certificat­ion to the Qantas app, in return for a “reward” of frequent flyer points, status credits or a $20 discount on their next flight.

As a result, Qantas had given away 220 million points, making the “rewards for vaccinatio­n” the airline’s biggest ever promotion.

But Mr Joyce conceded that the goal of having domestic and internatio­nal borders open by December, when 80 per cent of the population was vaccinated, was dependent on a unified approach.

West Australian Premier Mark Mcgowan and Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk have both talked down the likelihood of opening up while high numbers of Covid cases persisted interstate.

“We might get into a situation where from Sydney you can visit your relatives in London, maybe Dublin, but you can’t visit your relatives in Perth or maybe Cairns and that would be sad if we got to that,” Mr Joyce said.

“Hopefully we’ll get everybody to keep with the national cabinet plan which will mean everybody can get together at Christmas...”

He also shared the “words for success” from former US president Theodore Roosevelt, that had helped the airline get through the Covid crisis.

“(I told them) the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing you can do is the wrong thing and the worst thing you can do is nothing,” Mr Joyce said.

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