Qantas’ new flights between Sydney and Orange, which launched this week (Jul 20), are providing Central New South Wales with a much-needed tourism boost.

The inaugural flight, originally scheduled for earlier this year and operated for the first time on Monday, cames as the region continues its post-COVID recovery and Orange Mayor, Reg Kidd, said the economic impact would be significant.

“Orange has been very popular with visitors since travel restrictions were eased and having an extra airline is going to make it even easier to bring them here,” he said.

“These additional flights will make our fantastic parks, specialty stores, wineries and restaurants more accessible to tourists, while also making it easier to work and do business in the region.”

The flights are operated with a 36-seat Bombardier Q200 aircraft three times per week on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays by the carrier’s regional operator, QantasLink. The destination has become the 13th in New South Wales for the airline.

QantasLink CEO, John Gissing, said the national carrier was pleased to be launching flights to Orange at a time when domestic travel was key to Australia’s tourism recovery.

“The local community in Orange has been extremely supportive of QantasLink bringing competition to the route, which will create more competitive airfares and stimulate more demand for people to visit the region,” he said.

“The Orange region is well known for its progressive and sophisticated food and wine scene and its friendly country hospitality so we are delighted to add this route to our domestic QantasLink network.

“These flights to Orange will make it easier for Sydney residents to discover one of NSW’s most beautiful regions and its world-class restaurants and wineries,” Gissing said.

New South Wales Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney, Stuart Ayres, said the new services would make it easier than ever for NSW residents to take a country break.

“Tourism is a key industry for the wine region of Orange and our Harbour City, so these new flights will provide a lifeline for local communities, and a critical link for all travellers,” he said.

Tourism Accommodation Australia CEO, Michael Johnson, told HM he was thrilled with the addition of Orange to the QantasLink network.

“Orange is a great hub of our central west – which has been hard hit by drought and COVID-19,” he said.

“There is pent up demand following the states recent lock downs and the more access to regions to support their visitor economy’s recovery the better.

“This is a great win for Orange, its tourism and accommodation industry,” he told HM.

Orange City Council Deputy Mayor and Airport Community Committee chair, Cr Sam Romano, said a third commercial airline operating out of Orange was an important sign of growth.

“Major corporations like Qantas have done their homework and they want to add Orange to their list of destinations,” he said.

“It’s an indication they want to grow the number of passengers flying in and out of Orange. Some of those passengers will want to connect with the airline’s interstate flights and starting their journey with Qantas in Orange could have some advantages,” Romano said.

While operations are currently three times per week, Qantas says there are plans to increase frequency later in the year.

James Wilkinson

Editor-In-Chief, Hotel Management