Illawarra to get nonstop flights to Brisbane and Melbourne (Essendon)

A supplied image of Jetgo jets at Essendon Airport. (Jetgo)

Illawarra Regional Airport (IRA) will receive regular public transport (RPT) flights for the first time in close to a decade when Jetgo commences nonstop service to Melbourne and Brisbane from October 30.

The regional carrier will offer nine flights a week to Melbourne Essendon and six flights a week to Brisbane with Embraer ERJ-135LR/140LR jets.

Jetgo managing director for airlines Paul Bredereck promised ticket prices would be comparable with nonstop flights from the major carriers out of Sydney Kingsford Smith to Melbourne and Brisbane.

“Fares will be competitive with Qantas and Virgin, starting from $155 one way to both Brisbane and Melbourne, with more than half of all seats available for under $200,” Bredereck said in a statement.

“Jetgo’s Embraer regional jets are one of the few regional passenger aircraft that could meet the IRA’s requirements. Due to their high performance, they are the ideal aircraft to open up this market.”

Further, Bredereck said the airline has been extremely pleased with early booking numbers since the flights went on sale.

Illawarra Regional Airport, also known as Albion Park, last had RPT service in the late 2000s when QantasLink ended flights to Melbourne. The former Impulse Airlines also offered RPT flights from Illawarra to Melbourne and Newcastle in the late 1990s.

The airport is the site of the Historical Aircraft Restoration Society (HARS) and the retirement home of Qantas’s first Boeing 747-400 VH-OJA. In June, the Australian Aviation Hall of Fame (AAHOF) said it had struck an agreement with HARS to establish a permanent home at Albion Park.

Shellharbour City Council Mayor Marianne Saliba said the new Jetgo services would boost the local economy.

“Coupled with planned upgrades to the airport terminal, the facility is set to be a major economic driver for Shellharbour’s future for expanding services within our region,” Cr Saliba said.

The council is planning on building a new terminal at the airport, according to its website.

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