FlyPelican will "be pulling out all the stops" to get British Aerospace Jetstream aircraft flying double daily return flights between Taree and Sydney at the end of January and is promoting $119 one-way fares with a direct flight time of one hour.
Regional Express (Rex) is exiting the Taree to Sydney service on January 27, 2018 and it brands the route as "loss-making". FlyPelican chief executive officer Paul Graham sees opportunity for growth, says it has prime time slots into Sydney airport early in the morning and evening and has the capacity to increase services if demand grows.
"We are putting in about 22,000 seats a year into the market with the double daily service and one flight on Sunday,” Mr Graham said.
“In the last five months Rex carried 5500 passengers and not all of those wanted to be going through Newcastle. So we are quite confident that we can build the numbers up to 15,000 seats a year and at the moment it's at 12,000.”
He believes the size of the Rex aircraft was a major factor in the company's decision to determine the route as "loss-making". He suggests that if FlyPelican can carry around 13 passengers a service then the route will be financially viable. The aircraft seats 19 passengers.
FlyPelican needs to tick a few regulatory boxes through January, “but it’s not anything we haven’t done before so we are very happy to get things going”, says Mr Graham, and Member for Myall Lakes Stephen Bromhead is liasing with the NSW Transport Minister to deregulate the route so FlyPelican can begin operating from Taree at the end of January, instead of March.
You may also be interested in:
MidCoast Council believes the FlyPelican service "will be a win for the local community."
"It was our objective to resume direct flights to and from Sydney, removing the need to land in Newcastle and reducing overall travel time," MidCoast Council’s director, community spaces and services, Paul De Szell said. “The partnership with FlyPelican provides us with this opportunity, where it was deemed unprofitable to do so by our former air service provider."
Mr De Szell says the direct route meets the needs of both business and personal travellers, as well as local medical facilities.
Mr Graham says the Jetstream 32 aircraft seats 19 passengers with “a direct flight time of just one hour between Taree and Sydney, which in comparison to a four-hour long drive is just so convenient."