Jetstar is planning to launch new routes and add extra flights to Sydney from Avalon Airport as part of a new deal with the Victorian Government.
Premier Daniel Andrews says the state government has signed a 10-year agreement with the Qantas-owned low-cost carrier to secure the future of Avalon Airport.
The Victorian government will contribute $12 million over the decade-long agreement, while Avalon Airport owner LinFox will tip in $14 million over the same period to keep Jetstar flying to the airport.
The latest deal, which will maintain the only regular public transport (RPT) service at Avalon Airport, was struck as Jetstar’s 18-month contract signed with the previous state government was due to expire at the end of April.
“This will lay the groundwork for a potential future expansion that will cement Avalon Airport as Victoria’s second major passenger airport, including with future international carriers,” a statement from the Premier’s office said.
Andrews said Jetstar would increase its current schedule to Sydney to seven flights a day, from five currently, and add two new domestic destinations over the next 18 months.
“We’re securing a bigger and brighter future for Avalon and saving up to 200 local jobs,” Andrews said in a statement on Monday.
“This partnership means more flights to more destinations, and will create jobs for Geelong and the region.”
Jetstar Australia and New Zealand chief executive David Hall said the airline would be working hard to ensure its Avalon Airport services would eventually be profitable.
“Along with the Victorian Government and Linfox Group, we share a vision of a thriving Avalon Airport servicing a growing region. It’s a credit to both parties that they’ve been so willing to support this partnership,” Hall said in a statement.
“Although our Avalon services have been unprofitable, we know there is strong commercial potential in the medium to long-term, as population growth gathers pace along the Western corridor and across broader Geelong.
“This partnership with the Victorian Government and Avalon Airport helps us bridge the gap until these services are commercially viable in their own right.”
Avalon Airport chief executive Justin Giddings said it was a great day for the airport.
“10 years, more flights and most importantly more destinations. Secure future for staff and region,” Giddings posted on Twitter.