* Virgin Australia reports rise in domestic, international
* International searches up 128% in last month - Skyscanner
* Virgin Australia to fly to Fiji from Dec. 16
SYDNEY, Oct 27 (Reuters) - Australia's planned reopening of
state and international borders has led to a surge in flight
searches and bookings, Virgin Australia and travel website
Skyscanner said on Wednesday.
Virgin Australia said demand for domestic flights leapt by
125% in the past four weeks. Demand for flights to New Zealand
were up by nearly 100% and for the Indonesian island of Bali by
217%, though quarantines remain in place in those destinations.
Skyscanner said international flight search volumes from
Australia had jumped 128% in the month since the government said
fully vaccinated citizens and permanent residents would be able
to leave the country without special permission from November.
Travellers returning to Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra will
also no longer need to quarantine from Nov. 1.
Paul Whiteway, senior director for APAC at Skyscanner, said
steps toward the travel opening for Australians had accelerated,
with foreign airlines bringing forward flight schedules and more
destinations opening to fully-vaccinated travellers.
Singapore said on Tuesday it would allow quarantine-free
entry to travellers vaccinated against COVID-19 from Australia
from Nov. 8.
"We've seen a steady increase in searches to Singapore as
travellers were hoping for this latest exciting news," Whiteway
Virgin Australia said it planned to resume international
services for the first time since the pandemic began with
flights to Fiji on Dec. 16 as quarantine rules relax.
It will also renew frequent flyer partnerships with several
international airlines that had been paused during the pandemic,
when it went through a Chapter 11-like restructuring process and
was bought by U.S. private equity group Bain Capital.
Qantas Airways Ltd, Air Canada and Hawaiian
Airlines have also announced plans to resume regular
passenger flights to and from Australia.
Singapore Airlines Ltd and Cathay Pacific Airways
Ltd have opened seats for sale on flights to Sydney
and Melbourne that had been used for cargo only or carried a
small number of passengers due to previous caps.
(Reporting by Jamie Freed; Editing by Stephen Coates)