WHAT WENT WRONG: Poor planning blamed for flight delay
BAD timing has been blamed for Jetgo cancelling three months of flights from Melbourne to Hervey Bay... before the new route even started.
The direct flights to Victoria are now scheduled to start on October 30 instead of July 21.
Fraser Coast Mayor Chris Loft believes there will be more bookings in October because people will have more time to plan until then.
"It is thought that the first flight might have been too soon after the initial announcement as people would have already made their travel arrangements for July," Cr Loft said.
"The good news is that Jetgo has not cancelled the flights to Melbourne and are giving people more time to respond."
Fraser Coast Tourism and Events marketing and communications manager Brad Nardi said Fraser Coast residents were the tourism group's major target market in promoting the flights, and were partaking in initiatives like local poster distribution.
"There has been a vocal group in the Fraser Coast community seeking Melbourne flights and Jetgo has responded so ultimately the airline's hope has been for regional support to establish the route's viability," Mr Nardi said.
"Marketing will assist to drive bookings but the flights need strong underlying demand to be sustainable on a long term basis."
But Victoria was targeted in FCTE's winter campaign, which featured a series of editorials in publications.
FCTE started to promote the new flights as part of the campaign too.
"At this stage it is mainly timelines that are needing to be altered to support the changed launch dates of the flights," he said.
"FCTE proactively works with all airline partners to ensure sustainable flights access our destination from the major population centres.
"Ultimately a commercial airline is responsible for the bulk of their new route advertising."
Jetgo's Managing Director Paul Bredereck said Jetgo received "considerable" feedback from people interested in the service, but had already made travel plans for the next three months.
"The delay until October will allow us to use a Melbourne-based aircraft and would not be as restricted as a Brisbane-based aircraft," Mr Bredereck said.
"Passengers who have booked on any flights from the 21 July to 29 October will be offered the opportunity to change their flight date free of charge or a full refund.
"Jetgo sincerely apologises for the small number of people who will be inconvenienced."
The Fraser Coast Chronicle was told Jetgo's website would have future flights uploaded yesterday, however no flights have been added.