Alliance Airlines will fly four times a week from Brisbane to the Whitsundays for the first time since the start of the coronavirus crisis, after negotiating a deal with the state government.
The flights, which launch at just $99 one way, will go on sale today and launch on 22 June.
It’s hoped that the move will create more than 85 local jobs and generate more than $9 million in revenue over the next 12 months.
Whitsunday Regional Council Mayor Andrew Willcox said, “Our airport was approaching 500,000 passengers annually prior to the pandemic so it is vital this key gateway to the Whitsundays is up and running as quickly as possible.”
While the specifics are undisclosed, the Palaszczuk government said it would “support” the route in a deal reached in collaboration with the Whitsunday Regional Council.
The last flights between the capital and the popular tourist destination left on 28 March, and there’s potential to increase the frequency from four times per week to daily if demand permits.
It’s hoped more than 5,000 tourists will use this new service over the next year.
The Australian reported the deal came as a “shock” to Virgin Australia, which was itself hoping to operate the service.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said, “Tourism supports one in three jobs in the Whitsundays. We know how crucial this industry is to the livelihoods of people in this region.
“We want to see more Queenslanders having a holiday in the Whitsundays. That’s what today’s announcement is all about.”
In May, Australian Aviation reported how Alliance increased profits this financial year by $7 million, which it attributed to its ability to adapt planes for coronavirus.
The business added its “pioneering” measures, including social distancing seating plans, new cleaning regimes and passenger temperature checks, have been adopted by much of Australia’s industry.
It currently has a fleet of 40 Fokker aircraft, employs 500 staff and provides regular and ad hoc charter services in Australia and New Zealand.