FIRST FLIGHT

Di­rect flights start be­tween Syd­ney and Proser­pine

Whitsunday Times - - FRONT PAGE - By Sharon Small­wood

TUES­DAY was an ex­cit­ing day for budget air­line Tig­erair, Proser­pine’s Whit­sun­day Coast Air­port and the people of the Whit­sun­days and Syd­ney.

At 9.45am the first of the air­line’s new di­rect Syd­ney to Whit­sun­day Coast re­turn flights landed on the tar­mac at Proser­pine, on time and to a warm wel­come.

This was the first time in more than six years that di­rect flights were avail­able be­tween Proser­pine and any in­ter­state des­ti­na­tion.

Tig­erair Aus­tralia’s head of com­mu­ni­ca­tions Vanessa Re­gan, who was on the flight, said the new Tues­day, Thurs­day and Satur­day ser­vices would deliver 56,000 additional seats through the Whit­sun­day Coast Air­port an­nu­ally, equat­ing to more than 1000 vis­i­tor seats per week.

SPEAK­ING from the ar­rival lounge of Proser­pine’s Whit­sun­day Coast Air­port on Tues­day morn­ing, Tig­erair Aus­tralia’s head of com­mu­ni­ca­tions, Vanessa Re­gan, said the air­line’s new di­rect Syd­ney to Whit­sun­day Coast re­turn flights had been well re­ceived.

“We are an air­line that evolves based on de­mand for our ser­vices – quite sim­ply, the more de­mand and the more people choose to fly with Tig­erair, the more op­por­tu­ni­ties there are for de­vel­op­ments down the track,” she said.

“[In this case] we’ve cer­tainly been overwhelmed by the de­mand for our ser­vices – from the 42km run that [Whit­sun­day res­i­dent] Brad Sobott did to help push for lo­cal ser­vices, to the Mackay/Whit­sun­day taxis here to­day fly­ing the Tig­erair colours, to Whit­sun­days to Every­where trans­fers and the lo­cal ac­com­mo­da­tion par­ties who have been so sup­port­ive in the pro­mo­tion of our ser­vices – thank you all.”

Mayor Jennifer Whit­ney, who was on the first flight, said it was “an ab­so­lute plea­sure” and some­thing that Whit­sun­day Re­gional Coun­cil had worked very hard to se­cure.

Whit­sun­day Re­gional Coun­cil CEO Scott Wa­ters ex­panded on this by say­ing Coun­cil had worked very closely with Tig­erair on route de­vel­op­ment and a num­ber of dif­fer­ent busi­ness sce­nar­ios be­fore en­ter­ing into con­fi­den­tial ne­go­ti­a­tions with the air­line to se­cure those ser­vices.

“We were very con­fi­dent, as we have been for a long time, about our busi­ness cases stack­ing up and be­ing able to deliver shared ben­e­fits for the air­line, the com­mu­nity and the re­gion,” he said.

Cr Whit­ney said this was just the be­gin­ning of ex­cit­ing times at the air­port ahead.

“Whit­sun­day Re­gional Coun­cil is work­ing with the air­lines and in­vestors to ex­pand ex­ist­ing flight routes and new routes and de­velop the air­port with the aim of up­grad­ing to in­ter­na­tional sta­tus in time,” she said.

Tig­erair’s re­turn flights are sched­uled three times a week on Tues­days, Thurs­days and Satur­days. This week's flights leave Syd­ney at 8.15am, ar­rive at Proser­pine at 9.45am and de­part on the re­turn leg at 10.15am.

From Sun­day, when day­light sav­ing ends, flights leave Syd­ney at 10.45am and Proser­pine at 11.15am, ar­riv­ing in Syd­ney at 1.25pm.

ROAR­ING SUC­CESS: Whit­sun­day MP Ja­son Costi­gan, Whit­sun­day mayor Jennifer Whit­ney, Tig­erair cabin crew Jes­sica Ker­ney, Ny­nia Se­bas­tian, Cap­tain Peter Larsen, First Of­fi­cer Ju­lian Dauncey, cabin crew Jacqueline Weir and Yoshie Swale, Tig­erair Aus­tralia head of com­mu­ni­ca­tions Vanessa Re­gan, Whit­sun­day Re­gional Coun­cil CEO Scott Wa­ters and Cr Jan Clif­ford, cel­e­brat­ing the in­au­gu­ral Tig­erair flight from Syd­ney to the Whit­sun­day Coast Air­port on Tues­day.

ON THE GROUND: The first pas­sen­gers dis­em­bark­ing Tig­erair's in­au­gu­ral flight from Syd­ney to Proser­pine on Tues­day.

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