Commercial flights have resumed between Melbourne and Sydney after this morning’s border reopening, allowing long-awaited reunions and some really blessed imagery to boot.
Getty Images photographer Brook Mitchell was on deck at Sydney airport as the first few flights touched down, some 138 days after NSW first closed its border to Victoria over coronavirus fears.
Mitchell, bless him, caught the moments that couples and families reunited. The piccies give a glimpse into the strain of the border closure and the sheer relief of its reopening.
Sydney Airport also added a few extra flourishes for the occasion. Drag queens Coco Jumbo and Penny Tration were recruited to the welcome party, as were a bunch of boardie-sporting models. Sydney!
The airport altered some signage to specially welcome Melbourne folks back to the city, too.
The countdown is on: in just over an hour the first flight will arrive in Sydney from Melbourne! So many families have been waiting for this day. @9NewsSyd @Qantas pic.twitter.com/xl4xrhTglm
— Lauren Tomasi (@LaurenTomasi) November 22, 2020
The Today Show was on the ground at both Melbourne and Sydney airports today to catch some of those moments, giving the rest of Australia access to some Love Actually-esque visuals – and a cameo appearance from Federal Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese.
Not every flight needs to be a heart-warming journey, folks.
JUST IN: Families and friends have been reunited for the first time in 4 months after the hard border between NSW and Victoria came down. #9Today pic.twitter.com/WLfLwHdXjT
— The Today Show (@TheTodayShow) November 22, 2020
All of this marks a semblance of normalcy for the Sydney-to-Melbourne route, which is billed as the second-busiest in the world.
Qantas and Jetstar are currently slated to operate a total of 17 flights daily between the cities, down from the peak of 45 a day.
That number might grow soon, though.
Speaking to ABC’s RN Breakfast this morning, Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said the airline had sold 25,000 tickets on the route over a single day, and projected demand for domestic flights to spike over the Christmas period.
According to The Australian, Melbourne Airport CEO Lyell Strambi believes the site could rev up to 40% of usual activity by December.
Big times for anyone who misses reclining their chairs on a 90-minute flight – and also for those Melburnians who miss their loved ones over in Sydney.