FlyPelican has extended its return flights between Canberra Airport and Byron Bay for a further eight weeks.
The three-times a week service only launched for the first time on Friday, 3 July, but will now operate until at least 23 October.
The beach resort appears to be benefiting from Queensland’s decision to shut off its borders to the ACT and NSW – Byron will now be one of the warmest climates available to passengers looking for a winter break.
In July, Australian Aviation reported how Byron is now welcoming almost as many flights as before the pandemic began, with regular services also operated by Virgin Australia, Qantas and Jetstar.
Then, Ballina Shire mayor David Wright was enthusiastic about the competition for flights into Byron.
“There’s a lot of people coming to be honest, and why wouldn’t they? We live in paradise,” he said.
“The land and house sales haven’t stopped … and prices are up. A vacant lot sold for $2.3 million the other day. The buyer was told the price and said ‘I’ll take it’; didn’t hesitate.”
Today, Canberra Airport’s head of aviation, Michael Thomson, said, “Many Canberrans have escaped the Canberra chill and enjoyed a break in Ballina-Byron region and vice versa, it’s been a great opportunity for visitors to fly to Canberra and enjoy all the great experiences Canberra and our region has on offer.
“It is wonderful to see these flights extended. A further eight weeks gives Canberrans the opportunity to escape to the sunny far north NSW coast now or for the next school holidays, with the service being extended until 23 October 2020.
Last week, Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said Queensland’s surprise decision to shut its border to Sydney caused the business to axe almost one-third of its schedule.
It meant the airline is operating at 20 per cent pre-COVID-19 capacity, and not the 45 per cent it hoped to run before borders across Australia were hardened.
“What we’d like to see is real certainty over what’s going to happen with borders and different approaches being taken by different states,” Joyce said. “The principle we all agree on is that health has to be the top priority but the medical experts have said it’s not elimination we’re after, it’s suppression.”