Taking a punt that we won't suffer another round of state border closures, Qantas is rolling out three new routes to both Coffs Harbour and Byron Bay (Ballina) starting April 1 "to support growing demand for holidays in Australia."
- Melbourne to Coffs Harbour will see daily flights on the nimble Qantas Boeing 717
- Brisbane to Coffs Harbour will run four days per week on a Q400 turboprop
- Canberra to Byron Bay - which marks Qantas' first direct service connecting the two destinations – will offer two flights per week, also on the Q400 (while nominally seasonal flights, the airline says it will look to continue the Canberra-Byron service "from July in line with demand.")
Fares across all three routes will start at $129 one-way for travel between April and October.
In addition, Sydney-Coffs Harbour will see the familiar Q400 supplemented by the larger two-class Boeing 717 aircraft during the April school holidays.
"With international borders closed, we want to make it even easier for travellers to holiday around Australia," said QantasLink CEO John Gissing, who hopes the new routes will provide Australians with more options to plan their next holiday in their own backyard.
"The beautiful coastal hubs of Byron Bay and Coffs Harbour continue to be incredibly popular with travellers, so it makes sense to provide direct connections from other capital cities to make them even more accessible."
Of course, if some state borders do slam shut at short notice, Qantas now allows unlimited flight changes until at least January 2022.