With international travel largely off the map and the local Covid-19 situation under control, Jetstar has seen interest to travel within Australia skyrocket.

Qantas’ budget offshoot said it now plans to operate over 850 weekly return flights across 55 domestic routes by March 2021. This represents about 110 per cent of its March 2019 schedule.

To meet increased demand, the carrier is looking to redeploy Airbus A320s sitting idle with Jetstar Asia and Jetstar Japan to its Australian operations, according to Sydney Morning Herald.

Gareth Evans, CEO at Jetstar, said:

“Travel demand to popular holiday spots is bouncing back in the lead up to the summer holidays. While international borders remain closed, more Australians are set to explore places around the country they have never visited, which is great news for local hospitality and tourism operators. 

“We have a lot of repair work to do given the huge toll the Covid crisis took on airlines. But the flexibility we have across our fleet means we can offer these extra services, help boost tourism and the local economies of the communities we fly to and also get more of our people back in the air.”

Budget carriers such as Jetstar are expected to recover more quickly than their full-service counterparts, as price-conscious travellers flock to leisure destinations closer to home.

The carrier will also benefit from the two-way Australia-New Zealand travel bubble when it launches in early 2021.

In a survey conducted by the airline, 86 per cent of respondents said they intend to travel domestically in 2021, with destinations such as Hobart in Tasmania and Cairns in Queensland among the more popular choices.