Australian airline Qantas launches mystery flights to boost tourism amid Covid pandemic

April Roach
·3-min read
<p>Qantas planes lined up at Melbourne's international airport</p> (AFP via Getty Images)

Qantas planes lined up at Melbourne's international airport

(AFP via Getty Images)

An Australian airline is launching “mystery flights” with a secret destination in a bid to boost domestic tourism.

The mystery flights where passengers don’t know the destination when boarding, were popular in the 1990s.

Qantas said it was launching the concept flights to “combat the border blues” and encourage Australians to travel while international borders remain closed during the coronavirus pandemic.

The airline is offering three Boeing 737 mystery flight experiences that will incorporate a day of activities as well as the cost of the flight.

Qantas Group Chief Customer Officer, Stephanie Tully, said: “Our customers tell us that where they can and can’t travel within Australia has been a bit of a mystery lately.

“The vaccine rollout is bringing a lot more certainty and domestic border restrictions should soon be a thing of the past. In the meantime, these flights turn that mystery into a positive by creating a unique experience for the many people keen to start travelling again.

“As well as helping bring more of our people back to work, these mystery flights are another way to support tourism operators in regional areas especially, who have been hit particularly hard by several waves of travel restrictions.”

Watch: Qantas announces plans to resume international flights by end of October

The limited mystery flight experiences will depart from Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne to a destination within approximately two hours.

Airlines have suffered significant losses during the pandemic, with British Airways owner IAG last week announcing it experienced a pre-tax loss of £6.8 billion in 2020.

Revenues collapsed 69 per cent from £22.2 billion to just £6.8 billion last year as the Covid-19 crisis hit.

The company, which also owns Aer Lingus and Iberia, said capacity for 2020 was just 33.5 per cent of 2019 levels, and is only expected to be around 20 per cent between January and March.

IAG chief executive Luis Gallego said the results “reflect the serious impact that Covid-19 has had on our business”.

Getting people travelling again will require “a clear road map for unwinding current restrictions when the time is right”, he said.

“We know there is pent-up demand for travel and people want to fly. Vaccinations are progressing well and global infections are going in the right direction.

“We’re calling for international common testing standards and the introduction of digital health passes to reopen our skies safely.”

Qantas revealed last week that it suffered a $1.1 billion (£6.2 billion) pre-tax loss.

The airline’s CEO, Alan Joyce said the figures were “stark but not surprising”.

He added: “The Covid vaccine rollout in Australia will take time, but the fact it’s underway gives us more certainty. More certainty that domestic borders can stay open because frontline and quarantine workers will be vaccinated in a matter of weeks.

“And more certainty that international borders can open when the nationwide rollout is effectively complete by the end of October.”

Watch: Should I book a holiday in 2021?

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