DOMESTIC flights between Avalon Airport and the Gold Coast have taken off again and are expected to return to and from Sydney and Adelaide in less than a fortnight.
Sydney flights were paused on December 24 due to a recent COVID-19 cluster, only four days after their resumption from the wider coronavirus shutdown.
The airport’s branding, creative and social media supervisor, Georgina Capper, said the situation in Sydney was “ever-changing” so the February 1 return of flights was not certain.
“We are flexible and we have to be,” Ms Capper said.
“It is all going to come down to what changes happen – there are still big numbers in NSW.
“No one really knows how it will play out and obviously that is a decision for the state government.”
Avalon-Gold Coast flights restarted on January 2.
In line with government requirements, face masks must be worn on all Jetstar flights domestically in Australia and internationally.
The requirement, introduced on January 9, means passengers will need to wear a mask at the airport, at the boarding gate and throughout their flight, unless they are under 12 years old or have a medical condition that exempts them.
Before the coronavirus outbreak, AirAsia was flying twice daily to Kuala Lumpur and the airport was expanding international travel with news that Citilink, a subsidiary of Garuda, would fly to Bali daily.
Those plans were paused when the pandemic struck and there has been no word on when those flights may resume.
“It has been a difficult time, but we are fortunate in many ways,” Ms Capper said.
“The Fox family has a long-term vision for the airport and management were able to ride it out pretty well.
“We were able to minimise costs and be less exposed than other airports around the country.”
When travel stopped, major airlines swooped on the opportunity to provide maintenance to their planes, with teams of engineers and long lines of Qantas, Jetstar and Virgin aircraft spending months at Avalon.
According to Ms Capper, Avalon Airport staff are remaining optimistic and have developed COVID-friendly operating systems.
“When Sydney flights resumed two weeks ago, while everything changed very quickly, it proved to be a really interesting test for us,” she said.
“We have been upgrading the facilities throughout the year in order to be a really safe COVID location and it went really smoothly.
“Not only did we we have a good space for DHHS (Department of Human Health and Services) to set up their screening site, but our check-in was really roomy.
“People didn’t have to crowd, we have a new auto-bag drop, so it was really seamless for passengers.”
Jetstar is regularly updating flight cancellations and schedule updates on its ‘Travel Alerts’ page. Head to jetstar.com/au/en/travel-alerts.
For information about flights to and from Avalon, go to avalonairport.com.au