Long-awaited island reopening enjoys flying start
THE long-awaited reopening of Hamilton Island has continued to gain momentum as the first flights in more than four months landed today.
Virgin Australia has resumed flights between Brisbane and Hamilton Island following the island’s reopening at the weekend.
Virgin will operate three weekly return services, adding about 4500 seats to the market each month.
Hamilton Island closed in March because of coronavirus restrictions but welcomed its first guests back on Saturday.
Hamilton Island CEO Glenn Bourke said after four months of lockdown, the staff at Hamilton Island were delighted to reopen.
“During our closure period, the Hamilton Island team has been busy rejuvenating the island and we hope that our guests are impressed with how the island is presented for our reopening,” he said.
“Our bookings are steady for August and are predicted to increase into September and October to upwards of 50 per cent.
“We have seen a desire from the domestic market to resume travel and our luxury resort qualia has performed particularly well.”
Mr Bourke said staff were “naturally disappointed” they were unable to welcome guests from Victoria and more recently Greater Sydney, and predicted there would be “softer numbers than initially predicted” in the wake of the reopening.
However, he said many visitors in the lockdown areas had re-booked their holidays for future dates and he looked forward to welcoming intrastate travellers in the meantime.
“The resumption of Virgin Australia’s direct services will provide domestic travellers the opportunity to enjoy all that Hamilton Island has to offer,” he said.
“We are grateful for the support the island has received from the intrastate market and look forward to being able to welcome all of our Australian guests back to enjoy their holidays as soon as restrictions ease.”
Qantas will also resume regular services to Hamilton Island this week with Jetstar set to follow shortly after.
Virgin Australia chief commercial officer John MacLeod said the route would go a long way to support the newly-reopened island.
“Queenslanders are supporting our flights to key Queensland leisure destinations and we’re really pleased to further ramp-up our schedule to include regular services to Hamilton Island,” he said.
“We know that giving travellers great fares to the Whitsundays, coupled with award-winning service, is what will help to recover the Queensland tourism industry while providing more jobs for our people and those who work in the region.”