Direct flights between Newcastle and Canberra have been restored with the arrival of Pelican Airlines flight PE 311 in the nation’s capital.
Pelican Airlines’ 19-seat Jetstream 32 VH-OTD took off from Newcastle just before 0700 on Monday morning, marking the start of regular public transport (RPT) service from the previously charter and fly-in/fly-out operator.
After a flight of 70-odd minutes, PE 311 landed at Canberra Airport a little after 0800 and was greeted in the traditional manner with a water cannon salute.
There were also some ceremonies and sweet treats for the first Pelican Airlines passengers at the airport.
Pelican Airlines is offering double daily services on the Canberra-Newcastle route Monday through Fridays and one flight on Sunday. Commuters have been forced to transit via Sydney or take the car for between Canberra and Newcastle since the collapse of Brindabella Airlines in December 2013.
The airline’s chief executive Paul Graham told Australian Aviation in February Canberra-Newcastle was a “proven 19-seat route”.
“Our primary target will more than likely be government, business and industry with parliament in Canberra, as well as the association with Newcastle and defence,” Graham said.
Pelican is also starting Sydney-Newcastle and Sydney-Mudgee services from June 11.