Virgin Australia says residents of Tamworth will be able to organise day trips to Sydney and have more connection opportunities to the rest of the airline’s domestic and international network thanks to an increased schedule from the Northern NSW city.
The airline said on Monday it was adding six new return services between Sydney and Tamworth, which will operate from July to October.
The additional flights are an early morning departure from Tamworth to Sydney and an evening flight from the NSW capital to Tamworth on weekdays, indicating Virgin would overnight an aircraft at Tamworth.
There is also a flight on Saturday for the first time and an additional flight on Sunday.
Virgin’s existing flights between Tamworth and Sydney are during the afternoon.
All services are operated by 68-seat ATR 72 turboprops.
“These new flights will enable Tamworth residents to travel to Sydney for a full day of work or business meetings and return home in the evening,” Virgin Australia chief executive John Borghetti said in a statement.
“For residents travelling for leisure, the new flights are well timed for connection to international destinations like Los Angeles.
“We will continue to look for ways to bring more competition and choice to regional destinations.”
Virgin started flights to Tamworth in May 2015, bringing competition to a route previously served only by QantasLink. Meanwhile, Jetgo serves Tamworth from Brisbane with 26-seat Embraer ERJ-135 regional jets.
Deputy Prime Minister and Member for New England Barnaby Joyce said the flights would support the local economy.
“Increased flights through Virgin Australia will not only enable more people to come and visit our region, it will also provide a platform for our businesses to reach out across the nation and across the world,” Joyce said.
In its third quarter trading update, Virgin said it would cut capacity across both its Virgin and Tigerair networks by 5.1 per cent for the three months to June 30, compared with the prior corresponding period, with the focus on regional routes.