Link Airways is set to rival FlyPelican and launch direct flights between Canberra and Newcastle from 20 November.
The service will initially include four return Saab 340B Plus flights per week, on Monday and Friday, with plans to grow to 11 in 2021.
The first flights will depart Canberra at 6:30am and 4:00pm, arriving at Newcastle at 7:30am and 5:00pm; and take off from Newcastle at 8:00am and 5:30pm, arriving at Canberra at 9:00am and 6:30pm.
The business’ chief executive, Andrew Major, said the decision to launch the route was made after conversations with existing clients.
“The airline had received numerous approaches from parties that travel regularly between Canberra and Newcastle seeking additional capacity and a larger range of fares on the route,” said Major. “The Saab 340B Plus aircraft with full in-flight cabin service will significantly enhance the offering on this route.”
The news comes shortly after Link said it would launch a new route between Canberra and Hobart when border restrictions relax.
The flights were due to start on 3 December but could now happen sooner after Tasmania Premier Peter Gutwein said on Monday the border with the ACT would likely open on 26 October.
The flights will depart Canberra at 9:30am and arrive into Hobart at 11:35am, while the return service will depart Hobart at 12:05pm and land in Canberra at 2:05pm.
Regional airline Fly Corporate rebranded to Link Airways in August and operates from Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne to regional Queensland and NSW, with a fleet of Saab 340B Plus and Metro 23 aircraft.
Link Airways’ current network includes Armidale, Biloela (Thangool), Brisbane, Coffs Harbour, Dubbo, Inverell, Melbourne (Essendon), Narrabri, Orange, Sydney, Tamworth and Wollongong (Shellharbour).
Meanwhile, Australian Aviation also reported this month how Newcastle Airport needs to secure $65 million by early next year to upgrade its runway – or face waiting another 20 years for the next chance to operate flights further afield than New Zealand.
The airport missed out on securing government help in this year’s federal budget but has to get an alternative deal across the line in the next few months so its work can coincide with a separate upgrade being carried out by the RAAF, which owns and manages the strip.
Should the deadline be missed, Newcastle would likely have to wait until the next RAAF upgrade in circa 2040.