Quote from: Newcastle HeraldDIRECT flights from Newcastle to Canberra will once again be available to Hunter travellers in April, when Fly Pelican plans to fill the void left by the collapse of Brindabella airlines. Source
Newcastle Airport has announced that the Sydney-based Pelican Airlines will offer the route under its Fly Pelican brand from April 27, subject to regulatory approval.
The airline plans to offer a morning service to Canberra with a late afternoon return to Newcastle, as well as a Sunday afternoon service, on a 19-seat BAE Jetstream 32 aircraft.
Newcastle Airport aviation business development manager David Nye said the airport had been working to find an operator for the ''niche'' route since December, 2013, when Brindabella was grounded and placed in administration.
In addition to the Newcastle-Canberra service, Fly Pelican will also operate services from Newcastle to Sydney with onward connections to Mudgee.
Mr Nye said he expected Fly Pelican would put on extra flights on the reinstated Newcastle-Canberra route to meet increased demand.
''The Canberra route is quite a niche route, it will never have thousands of people that a big airline would be interested in, [but] the business is still good,'' he said.
''We certainly think that there's an opportunity, once the route is restablished and people get used to the fact that direct services are operating again, for increased demand that leads to more services in the future.''
He said demand would in particular be bolstered by the development associated with the Williamtown RAAF base, with both the RAAF and defence being big users of the previous Canberra service.
Fly Pelican chief executive offier Paul Graham said Pelican Airlines was founded in January 2014 under a charter air operator certificate.
He said Pelican Airlines was formed entirely by staff of the ''very successful'' but now defunct Aeropelican airline.
Mr Graham, who was CEO of Aeropelican for eight years, said Fly Pelican was pleased to be providing the service to Hunter travellers.
''It's a service that has a proven history and we are confident that from day one it will be well supported by Hunter business and will prosper,'' he said.
''We are hoping that we will build on the services we will offer, especially on the peak days – historically on Mondays, Thursday and Fridays – and especially when parliament is sitting in Canberra,'' he said.
I'll be interested to see the pricing, if it all goes through - Brindabella was certainly expensive.
Whilst I welcome the return of the CBR-NTL service, I don't see how it is sustainable. When Brindy were doing the service it was very under patronised, the only time I caught it there was four people on it and I can remember times doing the ground handling for them when there was one or two pax, was very rare to see them full.
FlyPelican 131 arrived into Canberra a tad behind schedule this morning. This was their first service operating to a special one off schedule, twice daily running commences tomorrow with the airline also commencing Sydney to Newcastle and Mudgee next week.
PELICAN-3178 (https://flic.kr/p/tUQTpb) by Zac Mathes (https://www.flickr.com/photos/zacmathes/), on Flickr
PELICAN-3190 (https://flic.kr/p/sYm1H2) by Zac Mathes (https://www.flickr.com/photos/zacmathes/), on Flickr