Jetgo says a lack of support from corporate clients is behind its decision to stop flying between Sydney and Gladstone less than three months after launching the route on December 1 2014.
The regional carrier confirmed on its Facebook page on Tuesday that its last flights to and from Gladstone would be on Sunday February 8.
Jetgo managing director for airlines Paul Bredereck says passengers on the flights to Gladstone were mainly locals and leisure passengers.
“Unfortunately, we just couldn’t make any sizeable dent into the corporate market,” Bredereck said on Tuesday.
“We were told that even if we could save them a couple of hundred dollars and save them two hours in transit times they were not interested. They would rather get the status credits with the frequent flyer programs.”
Jetgo, which was flying 36-seat Embraer ERJ 135 jets on the route, was the only operator offering non-stop flights from Sydney to the Queensland port city about 550 kilometres north of Brisbane.
Both Qantas and Virgin Australia serve Gladstone from Sydney via Brisbane.
While passenger load factors were building and the local council had thrown its support behind the flights, Bredereck said the airline’s modelling showed the time it would take to bring the route to breakeven was “more than we are prepared to invest in it”.
“If we had deeper pockets we would hold out but we are not interested in going broke on it,” Bredereck said.
“At the end of the day a broke airline is no good to anybody.”
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Jetgo said those booked for travel after February 9 would receive a full refund.
It is the second time Jetgo has dropped a RPT route. In November 2014, the airline decided against commencing a Sydney-Roma service two weeks from the scheduled first flight due to low booking numbers and the decline of future projects in the Roma district.
“The slowdown at Roma came quicker than anyone had expected,” Bredereck said.
Jetgo’s planned Brisbane-Tamworth route was due to start on March 2. Bredereck said Jetgo had secured a couple of anchor clients to support the route, which was not served by either Qantas or Virgin.
He said there were a number of other routes Jetgo was looking at starting in the period ahead.
“We’ve got a lot of stuff on the dance card,” Bredereck said.
“We are still finding our way and coming to understand the market a bit better.”
Jetgo was primarily a charter and fly-in/fly-out operator prior to gaining its high capacity jet RPT Air Operator’s Certificate in October 2014.
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