Travel time from Orange to Brisbane will be reduced to two hours from February 20 when direct flights take off.
Pilots and staff from regional airline Fly Corporate touched down at Orange Airport on Tuesday for the launch of the interstate service, which will cost passengers $259 each way.
They flew in on the Saab 340B Plus aircraft, which will be able to fly up to 34 passengers each way between Orange and Brisbane from Monday to Friday.
Orange travel agents said they have already fielded inquiries from interested travellers who currently have to either drive to Brisbane or make their way to Sydney by car, bus, train or plane and then catch a connecting flight to Brisbane.
Orange mayor John Davis and Fly Corportate Sales manager Geoff Woodham said the flights will also benefit Orange businesses.
“We’ve had discussions with the council for some time now, we’ve done our homework and we know we’ve got the numbers,” Mr Woodham said.
- February 20 to March 31: Depart Orange 11.25am arrive 12.10pm
- April 3 to October 17: Depart Orange 10.45am arrive 12.30pm
- February 20 to March 31: Depart Brisbane 7.50am arrive 10.50am
- April 3 to October 17: Depart Brisbane 8.15am arrive 10.15am
Mr Woodham also defended the more than $500 price for a return trip and said it was competitive once people added the cost of travelling to Sydney on top of the airfare between Sydney and Brisbane as well as the time saved.
“We’re working with some of the local business here in Orange but the the most important thing is the travel industry, we support them and they support us,” he said.
We Know Travel consultant Susanna Dowling, Flight Centre consultant Emma Baker and Orange Travel director Gai Fardell said people have inquired and booked flights since they were announced.
“We’ve had many people ask, at least half a dozen a day, even if they don’t inquire about it we do tell people we are offering it,” Miss Baker said.
Mrs Fardell said it will make a difference for people in winter who often otherwise have to wait for buses in the cold and it will also benefit tourism and business.
Cr Davis also welcomed the direct service but warned people need to use it.
“It’s been a number of years we’ve been trying to negotiate different connections, we want to make sure people in this area use it otherwise they will lose it,” he said.
“Fly Corporate’s decision to open a route here adds another reason for new businesses to open in Orange.”