Qantas today operated its first flight between Mildura and Sydney, coinciding with the opening of the New South Wales border to Victoria.
The route was originally scheduled to start in March but was delayed due to COVID-19 and travel restrictions.
QF1402 will depart Mildura this afternoon, marked by celebrations for customers at the gate and a water cannon salute for the aircraft on the tarmac.
Flights will operate four days per week with the airline’s 50-seat Q300 turboprop aircraft, offering more than 20,000 seats on the route each year.
The new service will be the only direct connection between Sydney and Mildura, saving travellers around two hours compared to flying via Melbourne.
Speaking at the launch, Qantas Executive Manager, Sales & Distribution, Igor Kwiatkowski said the new Mildura flights reinforced the national carrier’s commitment to supporting regional Victoria.
“As Australia’s largest regional airline, we have an important role to play in keeping regions connected and driving tourism,” said Mr Kwiatkowski.
“We’re responding to demand from local businesses and industry leaders to connect the Sunraysia region to Sydney once again.
“Mildura has a rich history and is home to some of Australia’s finest produce and wineries and we know it will be a popular destination for holidaymakers as well.
“Together with the Mildura Rural City Council we’ll be promoting greater Mildura to travellers across Australia as a great destination to visit.
“While our business has been challenged like never before by COVID-19, the launch of these flights is another step towards a recovery and getting more of our people back flying again.”
QantasLink also operates direct flights between Mildura and Melbourne.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Qantas has introduced a number of initiatives to encourage customers to book with greater flexibility, as well as to improve safety and peace-of-mind when travelling domestically through its Fly Well program.