FlyPelican launches Adelaide-Newcastle flights using Alliance Airlines Fokker jets

A file image of an Alliance Airlines Fokker 70. (Rob Finlayson)
An Alliance Airlines Fokker 70. (Rob Finlayson)

Regional carrier FlyPelican has launched a new Newcastle-Adelaide nonstop service to begin from March 26 2018.

The three times a week offering will be operated by Alliance Airlines on behalf of FlyPelican with 80-seat Fokker 70s or 100-seat Fokker 100s, the company said on Monday.

Newcastle Airport chief executive Peter Cock said the new two-hour flight would create opportunities for businesses and support tourism.

“A quick, direct two-hour flight provides a smarter choice, and will reduce return travel time by up to eight hours,” Cock said in a statement.

“Community demand for the Adelaide route has been very strong and we are thrilled to be working with FlyPelican and Adelaide Airport to deliver this direct service to passengers. This is another step for us in creating the airport the region deserves.”

Newcastle Airport said Adelaide was the first “new major city route” to be launched since flights to the Gold Coast started in 2004.

Currently, Newcastle has nonstop flights to Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney, as well as to a number of domestic regional destinations. In addition to FlyPelican, airlines that serve the airport include Jetstar, Regional Express (Rex), QantasLink and Virgin Australia.

FlyPelican passengers can also earn Velocity Frequent Flyer points on selected fares. Currently, the airline serves Ballina (Byron Bay), Canberra, Dubbo and Sydney from Newcastle, its home base, with 19-seat Jetstream 32 aircraft.

“As Newcastle’s local airline, it is important to us to provide services the community needs,” FlyPelican chief executive Paul Graham said.

“We are proud and excited to expand our network and give travellers greater choice with the new Adelaide direct route.”

Adelaide Airport managing director Mark Young said Newcastle has been one of Adelaide’s largest unserved markets.

“We’ve been keen to secure a service between our two cities for some time,” Young said.

“It is Australia’s second largest regional city with many similarities to Adelaide, including its defence focus and proximity to the Hunter Valley wine region. It also provides a great alternative for passengers wanting to travel to and from the Central Coast, Hunter and North Coast regions without having to land in Sydney and find other transport options to get to Newcastle.”

Also, the new route continues Alliance Airlines’ growth in the contract flying business, given it already operates flights on behalf of QantasLink and Virgin Australia alongside its fly-in/fly-out (FIFO) work ferrying staff to sites across the country for its resources clients.

Flight schedules indicate it will be one of Alliance’s Adelaide-based aircraft to operate the route. There is a morning departure from Adelaide on Tuesdays, with a short turnaround at Newcastle before return service. It is an afternoon/evening flight on Wednesdays and Fridays.

Flight Number/Routing
Days of operation
Time of departure
Time of arrival

FP182 Newcastle-Adelaide

Tuesday 09:50

11:30

FP185 Newcastle-Adelaide

Wednesday 18:30 20:15

FP185 Newcastle-Adelaide

Friday 19:50

21:30

FP811 Adelaide-Newcastle

Tuesday 06:30 09:10

FP814 Adelaide-Newcastle

Wednesday 15:15 17:55

FP814 Adelaide-Newcastle

Friday 16:30 19:10

Comments

  1. Teddy says

    Still astounded that Newcastle-Toowoomba Wellcamp has not been pursued – particularly by Rex, as it would provide an opportunity to link what are currently disconnected networks in QLD and NSW/Southern Australia whilst avoiding a trunk-route connection through Brisbane.

    With Defence, VFR (visiting friends and relatives), education and the commonalities that come with sitting astride the New England Region it seems odd that no airline has made the case.

    FlyPelican would at least be placed from an equipment standpoint with JetStreams to consider the route without concerns of over capacity.

  2. says

    To capitalise on the market do these arrivals connect to Perth services. If the Navy were in Newcastle I might understand the defence aspect.
    Is this relying on RAAF and Boeing traffic related to the Poseidon aircraft and BAE traffic back to HO?
    Not with my money!!!!!

  3. Arkair says

    Great to see two smaller airlines thinking outside the square and opening up a new route! Hopefully we will see some more new services.

  4. random says

    @Teddy

    You could also make a case for wine and wine tourism connections between Newcastle (Hunter Valley) and Toowoomba (Granite Belt), particularly as the article suggested wine connections between Newcastle and Adelaide.

  5. AlanH says

    Yeah, but … Newcastle-Adelaide? Why? Where’s the business case for that? And not even directly serviced by FlyPelican but by an alliance with Alliance (excuse the pun!). Sorry, but it’s lost on me.

  6. Jarden says

    It’s surprising that Newcastle a city of over half a million had no direct flights to Adelaide and Perth up till now. Perhaps they will look into more routes soon Perth and Hobart for example

  7. Pig Fixer says

    My only issue is that the flights are all weekday, but I wouldn’t expect an airline to take my personal circumstances into account.

    Surely though they’d receive more fares running Fri and Sun PM flights???

    Neil, if that’s you’re greatest worry mate you’re doing it wrong! Why shouldn’t a person, regardless of employer, be able to return to their family and fly back out for work? Jealous?

  8. Basher says

    Neil, sounds like sour grapes there pal! I’m not sure you understand the full story but you’ve surely gone off, glad you’ve cited reasons and not made a purely emotional statement……

    I am both confused and disappointed that the flights are (mostly) midweek. Surely there’s scope for Fri/Sun evening flights? I know a number of people who would make at least monthly use of such a service though that may not be enough to justify the business case.

  9. deano says

    Maybe they are looking outside the box and hoping they get onward traffic from Adelaide to their other destinations
    That said 70 seats would seem a big ask
    But you never know until you have a go

    And what Teddy said
    REX need to link their hubs….
    They lose so much business to Qantas because they are a one stop shop from anywhere to anywhere
    They have the feeder routes and they run at just over 50%
    Why they couldn’t charter from Alliance and start with Sydney – Melbourne 4-5 times daily to test the waters is beyond me
    They would certainly increase their load factors on their 340s and likely generate some Sydney – Melbourne business too boot
    2 3 seating with 33″ pitch would offer a point of difference to the 3 3 seating with 30″ pitch that others offer

  10. Mark White says

    A good start serving both these large metropolitan cities (Adelaide population 1.3million and Newcastle .5million). However a Tues / Wed /Fri only connection seems odd for both business and leisure markets to use but at least it is a start as both cities have industries and population bases to support this new service.

  11. Nick says

    Maybe the flight times are a result of when Alliance aircraft are idle and can be used for these flights.