Hundreds of people converged on Mount Gambier’s airport on Sunday to witness the arrival of the inaugural QantasLink service to the region. The “Flying Kangaroo” landed at the upgraded airport to herald the start of its direct flights from Adelaide and Melbourne.
The aircraft was welcomed with water canon salutes from local CFS volunteers, along with celebrations with customers and community leaders. QantasLink will operate five weekly return flights on both routes with its 50-seat Q300 turboprop aircraft, with upgraded cabin interiors, offering 500 seats on the routes each week.
Mount Gambier will now be serviced by two carriers for the first time in almost 14 years, which followed the arrival of Regional Express and the subsequent cessation of O’Connor Airlines.
QantasLink CEO John Gissing said the new routes reinforced the airline’s commitment to regional Australia. “As the national carrier, we have an important role to play in driving tourism and supporting the industry in its recovery from COVID-19,” Mr Gissing said.
“We know Australians love to travel and many are looking to visit places they have not been before. “The addition of Mount Gambier to our network will support the growing demand we’re seeing and help deliver a boost for local businesses. “We’re working with tourism partners to promote the unique geographic landscape and world class wine of the Limestone Coast to millions of our frequent flyers around the country.
“The new flights will also offer locals more choice and competitive fares on what were previously monopoly routes, with seamless onward connections to our large domestic network through Adelaide and Melbourne.”