Airlines to resume flights from Ballina
UPDATE 3.40pm: FOUR return domestic flights will resume at Ballina Byron Gateway Airport following Federal Government support of regional air services.
"This announcement is great news for our community who will once again have access to the state's capital. However, it's important to remember these new Sydney and Newcastle services are only for essential travel, such as healthcare workers or those needing medical treatment," manager of Ballina Byron Gateway Airport Julie Stewart said.
"We also want to reassure passengers, terminal staff and the wider community that the airport is safe and secure. We've introduced a range of measures to stop the spread of COVID-19 including thermal screening and additional cleaning," Ms Stewart said.
The Ballina Byron Gateway Airport has increased their hygiene and cleaning procedures and introduced state-of-the-art thermal checking that screens each person's temperature when they enter or exit the terminal. Travellers are also reminded that only airline passengers and their carers can enter the airport terminal.
The Ballina Byron Gateway Airport and airlines have also introduced measures to ensure social distancing practices can be maintained in the terminal and on the aircraft.
The current Ballina Byron Gateway Airport schedule includes:
Jetstar Service (set to commence April 23)
Ballina to Sydney return service, each Thursday and Sunday.
FlyPelican Service (set to commence April 20)
Ballina to Sydney (via Newcastle) return service, each Tuesday and Friday.
Passengers are reminded to refer to the Australian Government Department of Health for advice regarding essential travel at health.gov.au.
For all bookings and flight details please visit jetstar.com.au or flypelican.com.au.
Original story: JETSTAR is resuming flights between Ballina and Sydney this week.
Qantas and Jetstar confirmed last week they were part of the minimum domestic and regional network supported by the Australian Government.
This will see the number of passenger flights we operate increase from 105 per week currently to 164 per week to all capital cities and 36 regional destinations.
The agreement means that the airline will start operating Sydney flights every Thursday and Sunday from this week.
No services between Ballina and Melbourne were announced.
These flights will also provide critical freight capacity, which has fallen significantly as commercial air networks have shrunk. Much of the bellyspace on these flights will be used for mail and other urgent shipments, including medical equipment.
On-board service will be a scaled-back version of what would normally apply, with cabin crew focused on in-flight safety and they will wear personal protective equipment.
Richmond MP Justine Elliot called on the federal government to protect local aviation jobs and services that support the regional tourism sector and local economy.
"I am calling on the Morrison Liberal-National government to guarantee that Australia's two major airlines will survive, to protect local jobs, services and ongoing access to regular and affordable flights to other parts of the country.
"We know our local tourism industry has already suffered a series of blows, beginning with the bushfires late last year. We have also seen the coronavirus (COVID-19) have an impact on our international visitors as far back as January this year. Then we had the added impact of travel restrictions affecting domestic tourism."
Mrs Elliot said Australia needs a two-airline system to ensure that access is given to regional areas like northern NSW.
"While Labor welcomes the government's announcement that it will cover an initial eight weeks of flights on a number of critical metropolitan routes, regional routes, like to those to Ballina and Gold Coast, will still miss out. Our local economy has already suffered a series of blows as a result of coronavirus, and we cannot afford a further hit by losing Virgin Australia," she said.
"It is so important for our local economy with so many local jobs at risk; local pilots, flight attendants, clerical staff and those who work in Ballina and Gold Coast airport terminals.
"If Virgin is allowed to fail then thousands of locals, from Tweed Heads to Ballina will pay the price, and it will slow the recovery of our local economy once the coronavirus outbreak passes.
"Scott Morrison and his government must urgently extend a lifeline to Virgin Australia to support jobs and livelihoods of locals across the North Coast," the MP said.