QantasLink will launch direct flights between Bendigo and Sydney, saving hours of travel time for business and leisure travellers.

QantasLink’s flights will be the first-ever regular passenger services between Bendigo and Sydney, and the first commercial services from Bendigo in more than 30 years.

From 31 March 2019, QantasLink will operate flights six days per week with its 50-seat Q300 turboprop aircraft, offering more than 30,000 seats on the route each year. Flights will increase to daily over the peak summer season.

To mark the announcement, QantasLink had flown one of its Q300 turboprop aircraft to Bendigo for a ceremony with the local community.

QantasLink CEO John Gissing said the new Bendigo flights reinforced the national carrier’s commitment to supporting regional Victoria.

“As Australia’s largest regional airline, we know we have an important role to play in connecting communities and making air travel more accessible,” said Mr Gissing.

“No airline has ever offered regular passenger flights between Bendigo and Sydney– so these flights are a win for both travellers and tourism.

“We’re responding to demand from local businesses and industry leaders by adding Bendigo to our network.  Direct flights will offer a more convenient way to do business in Sydney, saving travellers around four hours driving time on a round trip instead of flying via Melbourne.

“We appreciate the support of the Victorian Government, Visit Victoria and City of Greater Bendigo Council in helping make these new services possible, including upgrades to the airport.

“We look forward to working together to promote destination Bendigo to travellers from across Australia and around the world, driving the tourism and economic growth which is so vital to the region.”

Treasurer Tim Pallas said: “This is a landmark opportunity for Bendigo that will create local jobs, boost tourism and create enormous opportunities for local businesses. The new service will attract nearly 15,000 visitors to Bendigo each year – and that’s great news for local cafes, motels, restaurants and the Bendigo economy.”

City of Greater Bendigo Mayor Cr Margaret O’Rourke said: “The City is delighted to partner with Qantas. Access to regular flights to and from Bendigo presents a great opportunity to further grow our tourism brand, better connect our businesses to domestic and international clients and colleagues, and provide residents with more options when it comes to leisure travel.”

To celebrate the new destination, QantasLink is offering special fares of $129 one-way between Bendigo and Sydney, for travel from 31 March to 26 October 2019. Fares available to book at qantas.com and through travel agents, and the sale ends 17 December 2018.

Bendigo is the 57th destination on the QantasLink network and the Qantas Group’s fourth destination in Victoria after Melbourne, Mildura and Avalon.