TAKE OFF: Record number of flights when borders reopen
A RECORD number of flights will be on offer each week at Whitsunday Coast Airport when borders are thrown back open next week.
Direct flights to Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane are set to resume from next Tuesday.
Whitsunday Regional Council Mayor Andrew Willcox welcomed the State Government's decision to open the borders to greater Sydney and Victoria.
"The great news for the Whitsundays is that there will be more weekly flights next month than at our operating peak pre-COVID-19," he said.
"Tourism is one of our three key pillars and having our airport back operating at record capacity is a remarkable achievement.
"The airport team has been proactive in positioning Whitsunday Coast Airport at the front of the airline queue for resuming flights to make it easy to visit the wonderful Whitsundays."
Cr Willcox said Whitsunday Coast Airport played an important role in kickstarting the region's economic recovery.
Safety measures will also be in place to help protect the region.
"We have also gone the extra mile to ensure the safety of our community with the addition of a new D-Link thermal camera for temperature body scanning proving an invaluable tool in reducing COVID-19 risks," Cr Willcox said.
"The thermal camera can assess up to 30 people simultaneously and alert security staff to anybody recording a high temperature reading.
"If a passenger does record a high temperature they are diverted to undergo further checks."
Council's chief operating officer aviation and tourism Craig Turner said it was important to move quickly as borders reopen.
"Growing connectivity by air is so important to speed up the recovery of our region," he said.
"We will now have two airlines, Jetstar and Virgin, into the huge Sydney catchment and this is the first time in 15 years that Virgin will fly the Whitsunday-Sydney route direct.
"At our peak in December we will have a record high of over 10,300 passengers transiting in and out of the region weekly."
Mr Turner said the aim was to capitalise on the desire of southerners to get out for a holiday.
"We know Australians are itching for a great holiday and these increased flights will help to ensure that our region capitalises on this demand," he said.