Jetgo is adding a new destination from Melbourne Essendon Airport with flights to Port Macquarie to begin in November.
The regional carrier said the service between Essendon and Port Macquarie on the NSW mid north coast would operate four times a week with Embraer ERJ-135LR jets from November 7. It will be the only nonstop flight linking the two cities.
“We’ve chosen Port Macquarie as our next destination because it is one of the fastest growing markets in New South Wales, with strong links to Melbourne,” Jetgo managing director for airlines Paul Bredereck said in a statement.
“We can save travellers around two hours on flights to Melbourne because our jets are 50 to 60 per cent faster than the turboprop aircraft that currently service Port Macquarie, and the direct services eliminate the time and inconvenience of changing aircraft in Sydney.”
Currently, Jetgo flies from Essendon to Dubbo in the NSW central west. The airline is currently using a temporary facility at the airport while the main terminal building, which is heritage listed, undergoes a $20 million refurbishment.
“Essendon Airport has constructed us a temporary terminal to accommodate the new services whilst the heritage listed terminal is undergoing a $20M refurbishment,” said Mr Bredereck.
Currently, Essendon Airport, which is a busy charter airport, has regular public transport (RPT) service from Free Spirit Airlines and Sharp Airlines, according to the airport’s website, serving regional centres such as Flinders Island and Merimbula. Alliance Airlines also operates charter flights from the airport.
Essendon Airport chief executive Chris Cowan said the airport was the “obvious home for regional aviation in Melbourne”.
“Travellers love the ability to park right out front or catch the free shuttle to Essendon station, and being just 10km from the CBD we even have a tram at our front door,” Cowan said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Melbourne will be the fourth destination from Port Macquarie Airport. Virgin Australia has nonstop flights to Sydney and Brisbane and QantasLink flies to Sydney and seasonally to Lord Howe Island.
“Our partnership with JETGO will directly link our community to the second most populous city in Australia, providing a further boost to our regional economy by adding to the range of competitive airline services for business, community members and visitors,” Port Macquarie-Hastings Mayor Peter Besseling said.
The airport planned to start a $7.5 million upgrade of the passenger terminal in early 2017. A proposed business park was also in the works at Port Macquarie Airport.