Bathurst Regional Council has selected Newcastle-based regional carrier FlyPelican to replace Rex Airlines in offering new direct flights between Sydney and Bathurst.
It comes after Rex announced earlier this year that it would be exiting the Sydney-Bathurst route, along with other regional services to Grafton, Lismore, Ballina, and Kangaroo Island on 30 June, when federal government subsidies under the Regional Aviation Network Support (RANS) program ceases.
Since Rex’s announcement, Bathurst Regional Council has facilitated an EOI process for carriers to replace the carrier, providing a vital link between Bathurst and Sydney for professionals, medical appointments, and tourism, according to Mayor Robert Taylor.
FlyPelican will now perform the 50-minute flight six times per week starting from 5 September. Tickets are now on sale, with fares beginning from $149 one-way.
Initially, FlyPelican will perform Sydney-Bathurst from Sunday through t0 Friday on its fleet of 19-seat Jetstream 32s, with flights to increase to twice daily from 31 October.
FlyPelican has been selected as Bathurst’s new airline and the operator will start direct flights between Bathurst and Sydney from 5 September 2022.
Mayor Taylor said welcomed the new airline to Bathurst and said the announcement was great news for locals.
“It is vital that businesses, health and tourist sectors have access to a daily Regular Passenger Transport service and necessary for Bathurst to identify as an important regional destination,” he said.
“The Sydney to Bathurst route aligns with our core business of providing regional air services to routes that can’t viably be serviced by larger aircraft operators,” added FlyPelican chief executive Marty Hawley.
“FlyPelican is proud to be able to step in and provide these vital air services that will connect the families, friends, and businesses of the Bathurst district.”
It marks the 10th destination across NSW and ACT to be added to FlyPelican’s regional network.
Earlier this year, Australian Aviation reported that FlyPelican had expanded its footprint at its base hub Newcastle Airport, with a new onsite headquarters and maintenance hangar.
The airline has been based at Newcastle Airport since 2015, however has now signed a new lease with the airport for a total footprint of 1,230 metres, including its new office headquarters and hangar capable of accommodating three aircraft and 50 team members.
The regional airline said the expansion is set to introduce up to 15 new local jobs in Newcastle as it looks to bring its maintenance facilities and base of operations under the same roof.
It will bring FlyPelican’s base maintenance for its fleet of British Aerospace Jetstream 32 aircraft to the airport, while the airline will look to directly employ local maintenance engineers.