Jetstar, Qantas scrap Sydney-Gold Coast flights

 

All Jetstar and Qantas flights from Sydney to the Gold Coast have been suspended, in another devastating blow for the tourism industry.

The move follows the Palaszczuk Government's declaration of Greater Sydney as a COVID hotspot at the weekend.

There were 32 flights from Sydney to Coolangatta after the border reopened on July 10.

But only three Virgin Australia flights, subsidised by the Federal Government, will now operate to carry essential workers.

Gold Coast Airport had as many as 55 flights a day pre-COVID but only a fraction of services are now operating, with flights from Melbourne also suspended.

Three passengers from Sydney hotspots were turned away at Gold Coast Airport at the weekend.

Another 31 people were refused entry at Gold Coast road border checkpoints, bringing the number turned back since July 10 to about 900.

Passenger numbers through Gold Coast Airport plummeted 98.9 per cent in June, representing almost 470,000 fewer passengers.

"Increased border restrictions between Queensland and Sydney have impacted the number of flights between Sydney and the Gold Coast," Gold Coast Airport chief operating officer Marion Charlton said.

"Sydney is a key market for the Gold Coast and prior to COVID-19, Sydney-Gold Coast was the fourth busiest route in the country.

"Flights between the Gold Coast and Adelaide, Townsville, Newcastle and Canberra are continuing, benefiting local businesses and the tourism sector."

Gold Coast Airport.
Gold Coast Airport.


Meanwhile, the Gold Coast's top cop says "the tide has changed" when it comes to public sentiment surrounding border checkpoints as Victoria's "tragic" COVID crisis worsens.

Chief Superintendent Mark Wheeler says people are becoming more accustomed to the checkpoints and no longer questioning the need for them or complaining about delays as much.

"Only a couple of weeks ago, when I saw the commentary about the delays and inconvenience, (the sentiment was) surely there must be a better way to do this," he said.

"Well if there was a better way to do this, we would be doing it.

"I think the tide has changed to a degree, particularly when we see those tragic (COVID) numbers coming out of Victoria.

"People are understanding that that could be Queensland.

"They're getting used to, every seven days, you've got to go online and take 90 seconds out of your life to get a new permit."

Supt Wheeler said people we're "reacting a lot quicker" to new COVID hotspot declarations like that of Greater Sydney at the weekend.

"The pain that we used to go through with four and five days waiting for people to catch up with the (border declaration) system, that's now down to about one or two days.

"It's really pleasing to see and I do thank the community for that."

Originally published as Jetstar, Qantas scrap Sydney-Gold Coast flights



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