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Pelican gets green light to start Newcastle-Canberra route

written by australianaviation.com.au | May 26, 2015

Brindbella and Aeropelican merged in 2013.
Pelican Airlines operates former Aeropelican Jetstream 32 aircraft.

Pelican Airlines will commence regular public transport flights (RPT) between Newcastle and Canberra on June 1 after securing all the necessary approvals from the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA).

The Newcastle-based Pelican will offer a twice daily service on weekdays, as well as one flight on Sunday, with 19-seat BAE Jetstream 32 aircraft, restoring direct service between the two cities for the first time since the collapse of Brindabella Airlines in December 2013.

Separately, the airline also announced on Tuesday it would start Sydney-Newcastle flights on June 11 with two flights s day on weekdays and one flight on Sunday. Regional Express (Rex) is currently the only airline offering RPT flights on the route.

And Pelican is also launching 11 flights a week on the Sydney-Mudgee route – a NSW government regulated route – from June 11, restoring air links on the city pair for the first time in 16 months.

Pelican has been working with CASA since February to vary its Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) to include RPT services, having been primarily a charter operator.


“The necessary approvals to start scheduled flights for the airline had been long awaited and he was thrilled that the first flight was now less than one week away,” Pelican chief executive Paul Graham said in a statement.

Graham said the airline was looking forward to restoring air services between Canberra and Newcastle, which links the nation’s capital with RAAF Williamtown and is likely to target the government, business and defence sectors.

“This service is in high demand especially with the RAAF base located at Williamtown, Newcastle, and also with public servants commuting and working in Canberra,” Graham said.

“The service has a proven history and we are confident that it will be well supported and prosper.”

Newcastle Airport manager for aviation business development David Nye said Pelican’s new service would help fill a significant gap in the market that arose following the collapse of Brindabella.

“The business community has been very vocal in their desire to see these services brought back and I’m pleased we’ve been able to do so,” Nye said in a statement.

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Comments (4)

  • This is wonderful news for people like me who regularly fly to Canberra and Sydney from Newcastle for business! I just wish I hadn’t already booked my June and July air travel!
    Well done for offering this service! It will save so much time and money! At the moment I have to fly to Canberra via Melbourne and it wastes an entire day!
    Thank you!

  • Brave move by the new Pelican.
    Its up to the NTL community to use it or lose it.
    Once you compare the hours lost by travelling over Sydney any fare that has to be charged is justified.
    Even with a loyal staff the costs of any aircraft like the J32 will be high.
    Good luck and fly safely!

  • random


    The States and Governments within Australia need to work out ways to protect and encourage air routes that cross State borders in the same manner that Intra-state services attract subsidies. Our State-lines / internal borders are such a hopelessly artificial construct. Moderately sized regional centres often have as much natural linkage with regional cities and inter-state capitals as they have their own state capital. Trade and growth in air services is hopelessly centred on and restricted by the traditional State borders.

  • Russell M


    Support it – or lose it.

    And an observation, not aimed at Newcastle or Canberra in particular – but don’t complain about the aircraft size etc. Previously we have seen folk in Toowoomba complain about the “slow little propeller plane” that Qantas runs from Toowoomba to Sydney – yeah, a Dash 8 400, which beats the hell out of the drive to Brisbane and mucking around to get a Jet to Sydney.

    The Griffith (NSW) local paper’s letters grumped and grizzled about the “little propeller plane” to Essendon – Cessna 404. I have used that service too, both directions, and it is fantastic to have a lower and “different” flight, and way better than the drive.

    The J32 for NTL/CBR is right sized for a route like this. Unfortunately Brindy went a bit overboard with the J41 with cabin crew etc……it’s not a big plane, it’s not a jet – but it will be much better than mucking around with a transit in Sydney, and way better than a drive.

    Not every city can had a big regular jet service – but use what is there, or unfortunately it will be back on the highway again. 🙁

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