Hamilton Island CEO, Glenn Bourke, has welcomed this week’s announcement of new Qantas flights to the destination from Melbourne in place of Jetstar.
“Qantas Group announced a change in their flight schedule which will increase the amount of flights to the Whitsundays region providing customers with greater choice,” he told HM.
“This is positive news for the region and we are delighted that Qantas has announced a new Melbourne – Hamilton Island route in this schedule update.
“Not only does this new service provide a premium Business Class offering to our guests but also provides international guests with a more direct route to the beauty and attractions of Hamilton Island, the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef.
“Having celebrated the return of Qantas to the island in 2014 with both a Sydney – Hamilton Island route and then a Brisbane – Hamilton Island route, we are delighted to welcome the Qantas Melbourne – Hamilton Island service to complete the Eastern seaboard offering,” he said.
Jetstar is replacing the service with new direct flights from Melbourne to Whitsunday Coast Airport.
Whitsunday Regional Council Mayor Jenny Whitney said this was more exciting and positive news for the Whitsunday Coast Airport and the local tourism industry.
“Council has worked hard over the last few months to secure these direct flights to Melbourne and we are very pleased about today’s announcement from Jetstar offering three return flights a week on Monday, Thursday and Saturday,” she said.
“During Jetstar CEO David Hall’s visit to Airlie Beach in December last year he was impressed by the revitalisation of the town and heard about the need for the Melbourne services from local tourism operators.
“I know the local tourism industry will be very excited about today’s announcement from Jetstar which opens up the Melbourne market to Whitsunday tourism operators.
“I also know these direct flights are something locals have been crying out for and many members of the local community will love being able to fly directly to Melbourne from Whitsunday Coast Airport.
“I’d like to thank Jetstar for working with Council and the local tourism industry to make these flights a reality,” she said.
Whitsundays Marketing and Development Limited (WMDL) Executive Director Jeff Aquilina said he was extremely excited about this huge win for the Whitsundays region.
“I would like to congratulate the Whitsunday Coast Airport and the Whitsunday Regional Council on this achievement and the great partnership with Jetstar,” Aquilina said.
“It is a huge success with the new direct services providing a great economic boost for our region.
“The opening up of the route between Melbourne and the Whitsundays is of immense importance to the region and the announcement is warmly welcomed by our local tourism industry.
“We have seen a strong increase in air access to the Whitsundays in the last eighteen month which has been a great success for our region and we are very excited to welcome additional visitors to the Whitsundays.
“After a number of challenging years, the Whitsundays has re-emerged as a destination of choice for Australian holidaymakers and we are confident that the new flights will boost visitation for the Whitsundays region.”
Airlie Beach Hotel General Manager Mark Bell welcomed the announcement and said the new direct flights were a massive success for the region.
“Having direct access to the Melbourne market is absolutely vital and allows us to increase our share of the Australian domestic tourism market,” Bell said.
“The new flights provide significant opportunities for further growth of our local tourism industry and particularly the continuous development of the Whitsunday Coast.
“It is fantastic news and will be of great benefit to the Whitsundays region,” he said.
Jetstar flights between Melbourne and the Whitsunday Coast Airport will operate on Monday, Thursday and Saturday and be serviced by 180-seat A320 aircraft in a single class, from June 25th 2015.
The moves will see the Qantas Group deliver more than 15,000 extra seats a year to the Whitsunday Coast region.