The new daily flights from Inverell-Brisbane kicked off on Wednesday, September 13.
After years of disuse, Inverell Airport was abuzz as officials, television crews, journalists, passengers and the community at large gathered to see an historic moment in the making.
The new flights offer more than just a boost for tourism to the region. Inverell’s Mayor Paul Harmon stressed the importance to the community for “both getting (medical) specialists to people and getting out of town, not only for tourism but for business.”
He commended the work of all those involved in doing what once seemed impossible. “For so many years we’ve been looking to Sydney, but the opportunity to open up to Brisbane means opening up a market to the northern part of the country,” he said, pointing to many commercial advantages and growth towards the north.
The success of these flights could result in more destinations being opened up. “I do agree that it would be nice if one day you do get Sydney,” said Fly Corporate Air Assistant Sales Manager Sharon Elkins. “But we will take baby steps and get you to Brisbane at least, first.”
Fly Corporate Air may be a small company, but this has its advantages. “You won’t be shipped off to another call centre,” she said. It is not unusual for managers to personally attend to the needs of passengers on the phone.
“But do you get a cuppa tea?” asked Jackie.
Well, no. But the refurbished airport does have lovely tea and coffee facilities. And the prices of the tea (and the flights) are quite affordable.
The real heroes of the day however where the members of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry who got the ball rolling. It was Neil Eigeland, convenor of the Inverell Air Services Working Group (IASWG), who came up with the idea and convinced others who shared his passion and vision to join him in his efforts.
“It’s amazing to think that this is actually happening,” said Mr Eigeland.
All it took was a dream, an academic paper about the benefits of air services to local government areas provided by Regional Development Australia, the support of the Inverell Shire Council and the enthusiasm of an entire community.
How can I book a flight?
Tickets are on sale at www.flycorporate.com.au or through travel agents.
Prices start from $139 for one-way all-inclusive web deal fares. The service offers 24/7 online booking, and can also be contacted through firstname.lastname@example.org or on 1300 851 269.
The schedule will offer direct weekday morning flights from Brisbane to Inverell with a return service to Brisbane via Moree. The service will operate Monday through Friday.
Fly Corporate currently operates services from Brisbane to Armidale, Biloela (Thangool), Coffs Harbour, Moree, Narrabri, Orange and Tamworth.