Australia’s national carrier Qantas flew direct from Newcastle Airport to Melbourne for the first time in more than a decade, when a Boeing 717 jet took off this morning.
The new service, which will operate 12 return flights per week from Monday 15 March, is offering the region’s corporate and leisure travellers greater flexibility and choice with a double daily weekday service to the Victorian capital.
“With Qantas flying to Melbourne at the start and end of the day, we are able to provide a schedule that will suit just about everybody,” Newcastle Airport CEO Dr Peter Cock said.
“The afternoon flights will suit mums and dads, while business passengers will have the ability to do a day’s work in Melbourne and be home in time for dinner.
“Importantly, this service also greatly enhances the ability to catch connecting flights within the Qantas network.
“If you are heading to Perth or Adelaide these Melbourne flights are perfect, with less than an hour stopover and the advantage of checking your bags through to your final destination.
“That means lots of time saved in getting to where you’re going – and avoiding a congested Sydney and travelling from the stress-free environment at Newcastle.
“Our region loves to fly, this is coming through clearly in research and forecasts where we are outperforming others across the country, so it’s great to see an airline such as Qantas recognise us in this way.”
QantasLink CEO John Gissing said the new flights were good news for local businesses in Newcastle and the Hunter region.
“We know Australians want to travel so we’ve been looking for opportunities to support new routes where there is demand and help deliver a boost for local businesses,” he explained.
“These new services will provide more options for Victorians to access the beautiful coastal city of Newcastle as well as the world class wineries of the Hunter Valley.
“We expect this service will also be popular with our corporate travellers.
“Flights are available at peak times in both directions and customers will enjoy the benefits of our premium service, including complimentary food and drinks, baggage and lounge access before they fly out.”
The flight time is about 90 minutes, with two return flights, morning and evening, scheduled on weekdays, and one return flight scheduled on Saturday and Sunday.