Gladstone is flying high after an announcement from Virgin Australia on Wednesday 27 July that it will commence flights from Gladstone to Brisbane starting in October.
Virgin Australia will operate its new ATR 72-500 regional aircraft on the new service, under its regional alliance with Skywest Airlines (subject to regulatory approval).
From October, Virgin Australia will fly twice daily return flights between Brisbane and Gladstone on weekdays.
Gladstone Airport bosses are excited with the new Virgin Australia services, which along with the recent introduction of Strategic Airlines, and additional services from QantasLink, should provide a massive boost to the local economy, and further support the current business and tourism trends within Gladstone region.
Virgin Australia will also now operate a service from Brisbane to Port Macquarie and extra services between Canberra and Sydney.
The new ATR 72-500 turboprop regional airliner will be operated under an alliance with Skywest Airlines. Under the wet lease arrangement, Skywest will provide the technical and cabin crew and source the maintenance provider of the fleet.
The ATRs – to be fitted with 68 seats – will replace the Embraer E-170 Regional Jets in Virgin Australia service. According to the airline, the ATR offers less than half the fuel burn and fuel costs, and will cover an average 150nm sector in the same block time as the E-170.