DIRECT flights between Sydney and the Whitsundays will resume on Saturday months after the coronavirus pandemic forced their cancellation.
Up to 5000 visitors a week are now expected to fly into the Whitsundays, with return flights also operating from Brisbane.
Jetstar will resume flying three return flights from Sydney to the Whitsundays from July 11.
Cairns is also expecting an influx of southern visitors with the first flight from Sydney in 15 weeks touching down today.
Whitsunday Regional Council Mayor Andrew Willcox said tourism was vital to the region's economic recovery and Whitsunday Regional Airport had been aggressive in their bid to secure flights.
"After being forced to shut down during the Covid-19 pandemic the airport is quickly regaining flights to open up our region for visitors," Cr Willcox said.
"Our airport team have been proactive in positioning WCA at the front of the airline queue for resuming flights."
Cr Willcox said opportunities for new route growth were also on the table and he expected some announcements would be made within weeks.
"It is so important for our tourism stakeholders and businesses that the Whitsunday Coast Airport plays a leading role in kick-starting our region's economic recovery," he said.
Cr Willcox assured residents that health checks would be undertaken on arrivals at the airport and said a recently purchased D-Link Thermal Camera for temperature body scanning would be a valuable tool in reducing Covid-19 risks.
"The thermal camera can assess up to 30 people simultaneously and alert security staff to anybody recording a high temperature reading for further check," Cr Willcox said.
"It is important for our region's economy that we open up our borders to approved states and this thermal camera will help keep our community safe."
WCA Chief Operating Officer Craig Turner said with most borders reopening from midday today, with the exception of Victoria, growing connectivity by air was important for our region's recovery.
"From Saturday we will have almost 5000 passengers transiting in and out of the region weekly," Mr Turner said.
He said on top of the Sydney flights, Jetstar had daily return flights to Brisbane, Alliance was flying four times a week to Brisbane return and Virgin had three return flights to Brisbane a week.
"The airport is focusing on leveraging the expected travel demand of the huge domestic population bases of Sydney and Brisbane to enjoy some winter sun in the wonderful Whitsundays," Mr Turner said.
"The region was buzzing again last weekend with an influx of visitors in Airlie Beach, Proserpine and Bowen plus the Proserpine and Collinsville RV areas.
"We know Australians are itching for a great holiday and these increased flights will help to ensure that Queensland capitalises on this demand."
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