Fraser Coast to boom with direct flights to Melbourne
KEN Jackson can't remember the last time he visited his son in Melbourne.
But as the region's first direct flights to the culture hub were announced yesterday, he started planning a holiday.
The 82-year-old is expected to be one of many customers snapping up sale tickets with airline Jetgo which will start flying from Hervey Bay next month.
"At my age now, I'd prefer to go by plane. It put a lot of time and cost extra money, having to divert to Brisbane or Sydney.
"I'd be thinking of getting back to Melbourne just to see my son and friends. It would be great for him coming up as well, to visit me.”
Fraser Coast Mayor Chris Loft confirmed the new route yesterday.
It came after months of speculation peaked with a post on the airline's Facebook page which read "Whales & Jets...???”
Cr Loft said the service would introduce the Fraser Coast as a tourist destination to a new market.
For local businessman Rob Braddock, who took part in negotiations between the airline and the council, the announcement was three years in the making.
"It was pretty much back and forth negotiating for two-and-a-half to three years. But we weren't prepared to give up,” Mr Braddock said.
"It's something that's definitely needed in the Bay.”
Like many business leaders, he's confident the service will withstand economic pressures and bring welcome dollars into the region as well as offering new opportunities for companies in Melbourne to do business locally.
Jetgo's planes, 37 and 44 seat Embraer jets, are expected to run on Fridays and Sundays allowing for weekend getaways.