Regional carrier Jetgo has confirmed it will be able to begin flights between Dubbo and Melbourne on October 27 after securing access to Avalon Airport.
Jetgo had planned to fly to Melbourne Tullamarine but said recently it was unable to get terminal space. Moves to operate into nearby Essendon Airport then hit a roadblock because of a lack of passenger screening facilities and regulatory hurdles from the Office of Transport Security.
However, Jetgo will be able to add Melbourne to its growing regular public transport (RPT) network thanks to Avalon Airport, which will accommodate the three times a week Jetgo service on a temporary basis while security facilities are set up at Essendon.
Jetgo managing director for airlines Paul Bredereck said there has been strong demand from the residents of Dubbo for a direct flight to Melbourne.
“The people in Dubbo, we’ve had literally dozens and dozens of phone calls from them saying ‘we really don’t care which airport it is, we just want the service up and running’,” Bredereck said on Thursday.
“We’ve listened to the public and Avalon Airport has been great.
“Many people in the Dubbo community have told us that they still prefer a direct jet service to Melbourne in comparison to driving or a transit through Sydney. Avalon Airport offers less congestion and more convenient and cheaper parking.”
A bus service between Avalon and Melbourne would meet each Jetgo arrival and departure, much like it does every RPT flight at the airport located just outside Geelong and about 45 minutes from central Melbourne.
At the same time, Jetgo has also commenced ticket sales for two additional Dubbo-Brisbane flights a week, which will increase the frequency on the route to six times a week.
“We have been very impressed with the demand for the Dubbo to Brisbane services,” Bredereck said.
“We are confident there is similar demand for Dubbo to Melbourne services and this is a logical expansion of our services.”
Mayor of Dubbo Mathew Dickerson said he was pleased Dubbo would have a direct link to the Victorian capital.
“It has been no secret that the people of Dubbo wanted direct flights to Melbourne,” Cr Dickerson said in a statement.
“I congratulate Jetgo on listening to the community and taking steps to be in a position to deliver this service.”
Jetgo will operate the Dubbo-Avalon service as a morning departure from Dubbo on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, with the return flight leaving Avalon either 1130 (Tuesday/Thursday) or 1145 (Sunday) local time.
Currently, Jetstar is the only airline with scheduled regular public transport flights at Avalon Airport.