Melbourne here we come
Wednesday, 23rd May, 2012
By Erica Visser
Broken Hill residents will soon be able to fly to Melbourne via Mildura, Regional Express (Rex) announced yesterday.
The move is a first for the city, which now only has flights to Adelaide, Dubbo and Sydney. The Melbourne service is due to begin on July 9 and will operate six days per week.
The schedule for Sydney has also been improved with three return flights a day instead of two.
The base cost of a flight to Melbourne one way is $200, while those disembarking at Mildura would pay $118.
The flight will run once a day from Monday to Saturday, leaving at 9.20am and arriving in Melbourne at 11.40.
The return flight will leave Melbourne at 4.25pm and arrive in Broken Hill at 6.40pm.
City Council’s General Manager, Frank Zaknich, welcomed the addition of the long-awaited service at its announcement in Mildura yesterday.
“There are very few regional cities that have air service links to three capital cities and this ensures that Broken Hill and Mildura, working in partnership with Rex, are well and truly open for business,” Mr Zaknich said.
“Certainly it’s about having the opportunity for Broken Hill people to access this service so residents, visitors and business people are encouraged to use the service.”
Mr Zaknich said that the new route to Melbourne had come about as a result of City Council’s five-year commitment to Rex.
“Council has been in negotiations for some months and this service has mainly come about as a result of Council’s five-year agreement to be partners with Rex and it shows that Rex has great confidence in the region,” he said.
Mr Zaknich also said that the new services would create stronger ties with Mildura.
“It certainly will and it has been a partnership approach between the two councils... and it will further cement that relationship. It’s a great achievement.”
Jetset Broken Hill Manager, Cheryl Cuy, said that the Melbourne link was a huge plus for the city but its longevity depended on how well it was used.
“They’ve actually implemented some really good fares but the Broken Hill people have to use this because it is a case of ‘if you don’t use it you’ll lose it,’” she said.
Mrs Cuy also said it would be a big bonus for tourism.
“The Victorian market has always been one that no one has yet been able to tap into,” she said. “I think we will really see people using the service from both directions which is really good.”
Federal MP, Sussan Ley, also encouraged people to make good use of the service.
“I know this is a massive commitment by the airline and I welcome Rex’s support and belief in the Far West,” Ms Ley said.
“Here is an organisation supporting both regional ports and the training of young pilots to keep Australia’s domestic airlines flying.
“I hope we can return this support by using these services where and when possible.”