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Australian government announces 800,000 half-price domestic flights

Australia’s struggling regional tourism businesses are set for a rush of new customers as part of a federal government $1.2 billion support package announced today.

At the core of the package will be 800,000 half-price airfares around the country. The government will subsidise flights from 1 April to 31 July to the following 13 destinations/regions:

  • Gold Coast, QLD
  • Cairns, QLD
  • the Whitsundays and Mackay region, QLD
  • Sunshine Coast, QLD
  • Uluru, NT
  • Alice Springs, NT
  • Launceston, TAS
  • Devonport, TAS
  • Burnie, TAS
  • Broome, WA
  • Avalon (Geelong), VIC
  • Merimbula, NSW
  • Kangaroo Island, SA.

Flights, routes and the total number of tickets will be driven by demand. Qantas and Jetstar say they expect to offer around 550,000 of the discounted fares, with Virgin Australia and regional carriers expected to release the remainder.

The discounts will be off the average fare and will be available on airline websites from 1 April.

Only interstate travel will be covered by the program – so, for example, Perth residents won’t be able to get subsidised fares to Broome but will to the other destinations.

The support package announcement comes as the government’s JobKeeper program is due to end on 31 March, with fears of job losses across the tourism sector.

The package also includes loan extensions for small businesses, and funding to help Qantas and Virgin Australia maintain more than 8,000 core international aviation jobs until overseas travel resumes.

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