SYDNEY, May 9: The Australian national carrier Qantas is set to launch hundreds of “points planes” offering super cheap domestic flights in a bid to drum up domestic travel during the country’s winter months.
The program is the airline’s latest effort to balance their frequent flyer sheets as customers have accumulated massive stockpiles of points during the COVID-19 pandemic. Earlier this year, the airline introduced a “Green Tier” program, which awards customers with frequent flyer points based on their sustainable choices.
From June, passengers who are travelling between Australia’s capital cities will enjoy discounts of 30 percent while booking economy seats. Additionally, 1,700 “points planes” are set to launch, where every seat could be purchased using frequent flyers.
Qantas Loyalty CEO Olivia Wirth said on Monday that the programs would help boost tourism across the nation in the coming months.
“We’ve seen a huge increase in demand for regional travel since the start of the pandemic and these Points Planes will help tens of thousands of frequent flyers discover regional Australia this winter.”
This means that jet-setters could pay as little as 41 Australian dollars (about 29 U.S. dollars) to fly between Sydney and Townsville, a small city in the Australian state of Queensland, when used in conjunction with points.
The most recent data from Australia’s federal transport research body, the Bureau of Infrastructure and Transport Research Economics, showed that domestic aviation is still well below pre-pandemic levels.
In February of 2022, 2.69 million passengers travelled domestically, up from 1.87 million in February of 2021, but well below 4.6 million passengers in February of 2020 before disruptions due to the pandemic.