Canberrans will able to fly direct to the tourism mecca of the NSW Far North Coast with regional airline FlyPelican starting flights from Canberra Airport to Ballina from 3 July.
Canberra Airport said the flights, starting from $229 one-way, were an opportunity to boost the ACT and regional economy and expand domestic travel to sought-after destinations including Ballina, Byron Bay and Tweed Heads.
The service will start with one flight a day, departing Canberra at 8:50 am and arriving at 11:10 am.
The return flight will depart Ballina at noon and arrive in Canberra at 2:20 pm.
Head of Aviation at Canberra Airport Michael Thomson welcomed the new partnership with the Ballina Byron Gateway Airport.
“After months of disruption to the aviation and tourism industry, the Canberra-to-Ballina flight link will bring a much-needed boost to the local economies of both our regions. Domestic travel is slowly getting back to normal and Canberra Airport is determined to facilitate the recovery,” Mr Thomson said.
“FlyPelican has been a long-time partner of Canberra Airport and we’re delighted to begin a new partnership with the Ballina Byron Gateway Airport, so we can continue to bring a wider travel offering to Canberra.”
Mr Thompson said flying has never been safer and extensive measures had been put in place by Canberra Airport, Ballina Byron Gateway Airport and FlyPelican to accommodate this.
“We are not yet back to full capacity, but with 90 flights per week linking Canberra with Sydney, Newcastle, Brisbane and Melbourne there is a lot of opportunity for people to travel,” Mr Thomson added.
ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr said the new link would boost the local ACT economy and provide a great opportunity to bring visitors to Canberra who may not have seen how much the city has changed and grown in the last decade.
”It also presents an exciting new option for Canberrans in need of a well-deserved break to take a short getaway,” he said.
The announcement comes after ongoing negotiations to re-establish links between Canberra and other closed states including South Australia and Queensland.
The Airport said the Canberra-to-Ballina link was a positive step in reopening other travel gateways across Australia and across the Tasman Sea.
Ballina Byron Gateway Airport Manager Paul Tsikleas says the new route will have a positive impact for the community.
“A key focus for us is to promote Northern Rivers NSW tourism to other parts of Australia so we’re thrilled to be working with Canberra Airport and airline partner FlyPelican in having a brand new exciting destination and look forward to welcoming Canberra locals to our beautiful part of the world,” Mr Tsikleas said.