Cairns, pop. 156,525 (regional 244,052), remains Queensland's largest tourist hub outside of the South East corner and has been heavily hit by international and state border closures. The city has 10,008 businesses on Jobkeeper subsidies, the highest of any region in the country, but demand for flights has seen the seat numbers doubled on the flight corridor during the last month. The Cairns airport continues to operate at around 25% normal capacity.
Townsville, pop. 195,430 (regional 238,233), and Mackay, pop. 116,539 (regional 182,303) have economies far less reliant on tourism than Cairns. The Townsville airport saw 58,490 passengers in July, more than the previous three months combined, but down to a third of the normal 170,000 per month average.
Direct air travel between the three centres remains restricted, with Townsville to Cairns down from six to two return flights per day and Townsville to Mackay seeing only one return flight per day rather than the usual three.
QR's Brisbane to Cairns Spirit of Queensland continues to run five days per week, with a four hour thirty-four minute run on the 377km between Mackay and Townsville, the 340km Townsville to Cairns leg taking six hours thirty-eight minutes.
Light and heavy vehicle traffic on the Bruce Highway has noticeably increased in the last two months, reaching or exceeding pre-Covid levels in recent weeks.