Surprise for millionth flyer
CHECKING into the airport at the end of a holiday can be a bit depressing; a reminder that the fun's over and it's time to go back to reality.
But that wasn't the case for Belinda Duxbury and her two-year-old daughter, Evie, when they arrived at the Ballina Byron Gateway Airport for their flight to Sydney yesterday.
The Ulladulla mother became Jetstar's one millionth customer through the Ballina airport.
And for that she earned a big reward - a $3000 travel voucher, presented to her by Jetstar's chief executive, David Hall.
"I am in shock - I don't know what to say! This is just so amazing," Ms Duxbury, of Ulladulla, said.
"We've been visiting family here in Ballina. We come here a lot.
"But this kind of thing never happens to me.
"I think we'll use the voucher to go to Fiji.
"We've been there before and it's lovely. I'll take my beautiful daughter and my wonderful son and husband, Eric."
Mr Hall said giving a $3000 voucher to a young family was one of the best things about his job.
He said the Ballina Byron Gateway Airport and Ballina Shire Council had been major supporters of Jetstar and he was looking forward to future growth.
He said the region was one of the strongest inbound tourist markets in the airline's Australian network.
"This airport is the gateway to one of the most popu- lar leisure destinations in Australia and we're really pleased to have reached this milestone," he said.
"Over the past eight years we've sold more than 100,000 fares to and from Ballina-Byron for less than $50."
Mr Hall said Jetstar was looking to increase its services to and from Ballina.
He said that with 114 aircraft in its fleet, they could move planes around to match demand.
Airport manger Neil Weatherson said they would continue to work closely with Jetstar.
"Over the past few years Jetstar has made a significant contribution to the surrounding region and the local economy, and supported the growth of the local airport," Mr Weatherson said.
"We would like to congratulate Jetstar on reaching this incredible milestone for a regional airport."
Jetstar's Ballina to Melbourne service currently operates three times a week, while the Ballina to Sydney route operates up to 21 times a week.