Jetstar has launched the first of two new routes from Melbourne’s Avalon Airport as part of its recently signed contract with the Victorian government and airport owner Linfox, with flights to the Gold Coast due to start in October.
The Qantas-owned low-cost carrier says it will offer a daily service between Avalon and the Gold Coast from October 26.
Jetstar Australia and New Zealand chief executive David Hall says the new flights to the South-East Queensland tourist destination was in response to community demand and represented about 65,000 extra seats a year at Avalon.
“The Gold Coast Airport serves a population of more than 500,000 people and we’ll work closely with local and state tourism bodies to promote the greater Geelong region in the South East Queensland market,” Hall said in a statement on Thursday.
“We have a huge opportunity to grow local tourism with this 10-year partnership and it’s important we showcase Avalon as the gateway to amazing attractions along the western coast of Victoria.
“The Gold Coast is one of the most popular holiday destinations in Australia and we expect these direct flights will appeal to Western Victorian travellers looking for a relaxing getaway.”
In April, Jetstar signed a new 10-year deal – with the state government committing $12 million and Linfox a further $14 million over the next decade – to maintain its regular public transport (RPT) service at Melbourne’s second airport.
As part of the contact, Jetstar committed to increasing its current five daily Avalon-Sydney services to seven flights a day, as well as add two new destinations over the next 18 months.
At the time, Hall said Jetstar’s services out of Avalon were loss-making.
“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,” Hall said on April 27.
“This partnership with the Victorian Government and Avalon Airport helps us bridge the gap until these services are commercially viable in their own right.”
Meanwhile, the news wasn’t all good for Gold Coast Airport on Thursday, with Jetstar announcing it was suspending its four times a week service between the Gold Coast and Mackay.