Qantas reveals routes that are busier now than before Covid-19

Despite travel restrictions, the airline actually has some flights with more patronage now than before the pandemic.

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Qantas Airways Limited (ASX: QAN) chief executive Alan Joyce revealed Thursday that there are actually some routes that have more customers now than before the pandemic.

Overall the airline lost $2.7 billion before tax for the 2020 financial year due to Covid-19 lockdowns and travel restrictions.

But Joyce said that there is a massive pent-up desire for Australians to travel, citing the success of its first post-Covid sale before the second wave arrived.

"We had Jetstar having the biggest sale in its history when the borders opened up. I think it was 200 bookings a minute. It was unbelievable the level of interest there was for people to travel interstate."

Surprisingly, some routes are seeing more customers now than before the coronavirus pandemic.

They are intra-state flights that are not affected by state border closures.

"We have routes like Brisbane to Cairns which is actually [now] the top route in Qantas' network. The traffic on that is bigger than the traffic we had pre-COVID-19," he said.

"Perth to Broome is actually ahead of what it was pre-COVID-19. Sydney–Ballina is ahead of what it was pre-COVID-19."

Pent-up demand for travel could turn Qantas' fortunes

The fervour for intra-state travel, according to Joyce, shows how there could be a surge of business when state borders eventually loosen up.

"People seeing family and friends, people seeing relatives, people doing businesses and seeing business colleagues. It has given us real strong confidence that when we can get the borders there, we know there is huge demand for these services."

The aviation chief was frustrated at the lack of national consistency in which state borders open and which ones shut.

"We're saying 'Let's have the rules to say what would you have to see in order for those borders to be open?' So, we all have clarity and know what's the right thing to do," he said.

"Western Australia, South Australia, Northern Territory, Queensland, Tasmania – we've got closures there still. With very low cases, no cases, and it's been like that for a while."

Motley Fool contributor Tony Yoo has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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