Jet flights are a reality between Port Macquarie and Brisbane as a new carrier continues a direct air link with Queensland’s capital.
Alliance Airlines has replaced Virgin Australia on the route in a codeshare arrangement with Virgin Australia.
Representatives from Alliance Airlines and Port Macquarie-Hastings Council officially launched the service after the inaugural Alliance Airlines flight touched down in Port Macquarie on July 17.
Alliance Airlines general manager operations Stewart Tully said the airline was extremely excited and the entire team really hoped the service grew over the coming months and years.
“Alliance and our partnership with Virgin Australia will bring the best of both worlds to Port Macquarie,” he said.
Mr Tully said the 80-seat Fokker 70 aircraft provided a faster, smoother flight, and at the same time, a partnership with Virgin Australia enabled Velocity points, access to Virgin Australia lounges and connecting flights with Virgin Australia.
Alliance Airlines is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year.
“Our roots at Alliance always go back to regional Australia,” Mr Tully said.
“That is who we are.
“We saw an opportunity with Virgin to do something that we do really well and our partnership with Virgin is terribly important.”
The airline will operate 14 jet services weekly between Brisbane and Port Macquarie including a new Sunday evening flight.
Alliance Airlines has flown throughout regional Queensland since 2002 and now flies into all Australian states and territories.
Deputy mayor Lisa Intemann said Brisbane services were a hugely important component of the air services offered at Port Macquarie Airport.
Virgin Australia has operated the Port Macquarie-Brisbane route since October 2011.
Cr Intemann said the council looked forward to the service continuing and developing with the strong relationship with Alliance Airlines.
She said the continuation of a daily service between Port Macquarie and Brisbane was a really positive move, providing great choice for both business and leisure travellers.
Passengers have more spacious cabin interiors, large overhead lockers and Virgin Australia onward flight connections.
Port Macquarie resident Kendy Ackroyd gave the inaugural flight the thumbs up.
“It was just as good, if not better [than Virgin Australia],” she said.
Port Macquarie Airport is the fifth largest regional airport in the state with more than 225,000 passengers each year.