Bendigo Airport will welcome its first commercial flights for more than three decades from the end of March when Qantas begins nonstop services from Sydney to the regional Victoria city.
Qantas plans to serve Bendigo from Sydney six times a week with 50-seat Dash 8-Q300 turboprops, with the inaugural service to take off on March 31. The schedule would increase to daily during the peak summer months.
The airline, which flew a Q300 to Bendigo Airport for the official announcement, said on Monday it would be the first ever regular public transport (RPT) service linking Bendigo with Sydney.
Further, it would be the “first commercial services from Bendigo in more than 30 years”.
— Andrew Lund (@andrew_lund) December 9, 2018
— Sarah Lawrence (@sarahtlawrence9) December 9, 2018
QantasLink chief executive John Gissing said the flights were a “win for both travellers and tourism”.
“We’re responding to demand from local businesses and industry leaders by adding Bendigo to our network,” Gissing said.
“Direct flights will offer a more convenient way to do business in Sydney, saving travellers around four hours driving time on a round trip instead of flying via Melbourne.
“We look forward to working together to promote destination Bendigo to travellers from across Australia and around the world, driving the tourism and economic growth which is so vital to the region.”
Gissing said the route was being launched with support from the Victorian Government, Visit Victoria and City of Greater Bendigo Council.
Big day for #bendigo Direct flights 6 days a week Sydney-Bendigo taking off in March. Delivered through a great partnership between @DanielAndrewsMP Govt, @GreaterBendigo & @Qantas Wheels up! ✈️ pic.twitter.com/C34XGyJWOB
— Jacinta Allan (@JacintaAllanMP) December 10, 2018
The launch of RPT flights at Bendigo Airport follows the recent $15 million redevelopment of the airfield that included a new 1,600m runway, new taxiways, runway lighting, line-markings and control system upgrades that was completed in 2017.
The airport also got new aviation hangars, improved drainage and better road access in 2014.
City of Greater Bendigo Mayor Margaret O’Rourke described the start of QantasLink flights as a “long-held civic goal” for the council.
“Eighteen months on from unveiling our new 1,600m runway, we have achieved what we set out to do,” Cr O’Rourke said in a statement.
“Access to regular flights to and from Bendigo presents a great opportunity to further grow our tourism brand, better connect our businesses to domestic and international clients and colleagues, and provide residents with more options when it comes to leisure travel.”
VIDEO: A look at the opening of Bendigo Airport’s state two redevelopment that included the new runway from the Victorian Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources’ YouTube channel.