Almost 10 years to the day of Aeropelican's final flight on March 12, 2009, Fly Corporate finally brought a Sydney service back to Inverell on Monday.
"Today is a fantastic day. It's great to see our flights finally back here," Inverell Shire mayor Paul Harmon said. He said it was essential for the community to continue to support the service to keep the flights coming.
The morning's Brisbane arrivals were treated to cheers from a waiting crowd and a delicious morning tea.
Inverell's first Sydney passenger; Jeremie Kerridge was surprised by the fanfare, unaware he'd booked the inaugural flight.
"I would have preferred a guard of honour, to be honest," he joked.
An Inverell local, Jeremie visits Sydney three or four times a year for medical appointments, and was pleased to have an easier travel option.
"It’s probably cheaper to go on a plane than pay for petrol, and it saves an eight or nine hour trip," he said.
"It’s worked out well. You don’t have to focus on the road, other drivers, that kind of stuff. You just get in and go."
His parents Graham and Heather Kerridge, were thrilled.
"It’s such a relief. Normally we’d have to drive to Armidale to drop him off, or for him to drive his car there. We can just drive him in and then we’re home," Heather said.
"It’s marvellous to be so close."
Cr Harmon said it was a historic day, and thanked everyone who lobbied for the flights, including the Inverell Air Service Working Group, the Inverell Shire Council and member for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall.
"Most importantly it comes down to the community of Inverell," he said. He noted that locals have wholeheartedly supported Fly Corporate's Inverell-Brisbane flights, which have been running since September 2017.
"They've now backed our community by saying 'we're going to put flights on to Sydney,'" Cr Harmon said.
"We look forward to more people coming through the terminal here, flying to Sydney."