Fly Corporate is expanding its network from Brisbane with nonstop flights to Orange and Biloela scheduled to begin in February 2017.
While Orange-Brisbane will be a new route previously unserved by any airline, Fly Corporate is taking over the flights to Biloela from QantasLink.
Currently, QantasLink serves Biloela with Q300 turboprops but announced in early December it would end flights to the Central Queensland town on January 31 2017 due to low passenger numbers, according to a report in the Central Queensland News.
Fly Corporate said in a statement it would begin its own flights to Biloela on February 1, ensuring the community kept its nonstop air link to Brisbane.
The regional carrier plans to use Saab 340Bs to offer a morning and afternoon return service on Mondays and Fridays, as well as a morning return service on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. There will also be a return flight on Sunday afternoons.
Fly Corporate chief executive Andrew Major said the airline was able to step in and fill the gap left by QantasLink’s withdrawal with the help of the Banana Shire Council.
Meanwhile, Fly Corporate planned to add Brisbane-Orange nonstop flights from February 20 2017. The new route features a morning departure from Brisbane and lunchtime flight from Orange on weekdays with Saab 340B aircraft.
Orange, in the NSW Central West, will be Fly Corporate’s seventh destination from Brisbane alongside Armidale, Biloela, Coffs Harbour, Moree, Narrabri and Tamworth.
Major said he hoped the nonstop flight to Brisbane would give the residents of Orange and nearby Bathurst, Cowra, Parkes, Canowindra, Forbes and Lithgow a “viable and practical regional service” to Brisbane.
“The route will greatly enhance opportunities for business between the Central West Region and Queensland,” Major said.
“It also has potential to attract medical specialists to the region from Queensland, enhance tourism opportunities and support travel commitments for families with children at school or university in Queensland.
Further, Brisbane Airport’s 28 international destinations meant residents of Orange would have an alternative to Sydney for their overseas travel.
Currently, Regional Express’ (Rex) Sydney-Orange flights are only regular public transport (RPT) service to the city of about 40,000 residents.
Mayor John Davis said visitors to Orange would be greeted with a newly refurbished airport terminal.
“Adding another business to the airport and creating new air links is great news for the city,” Cr Davis said.
“Orange City Council has invested significant funds at the airport in recent years with a new terminal and other upgrades. Corporate Air’s decision to open a route here supports that investment.”
Canberra-based charter operator Corporate Air, which has been in operation since 1972, moved into the RPT market in April 2016, establishing Fly Corporate and launching Brisbane-Coffs Harbour as its inaugural route.
Fly Corporate has a fleet of four Saab 340Bs and two 19-seat Metro 23 turboprops for its RPT services.