Cheap flights to Melbourne return, Tigerair announces daily route
Low-cost airfares to Melbourne will again be available for Canberrans, after Tigerair confirmed it is reinstating its daily route between the two cities.
Speculation about the potential return of a budget air link between Canberra and Melbourne has been rife in the past month, after reports emerged that Chief Minister Andrew Barr had met with his Victorian counterpart Daniel Andrews to discuss the issue.
Tigerair Australia will re-establish its Canberra to Melbourne route, giving Canberrans a cheap interstate option again.
Tigerair Australia chief executive Rob Sharp formally announced the re-establishment of the route on Monday, flanked by Mr Barr and Capital Airport Group managing director Stephen Byron at Canberra Airport.
Details on fares and schedules have not yet been released, although tickets are expected to go on sale later this week.
Chief Minister Andrew Barr said the Tigerair flights would add $17 million to the local economy. Photo: Jay Cronan
It has been five years since Tigerair last flew out of Canberra.
The low-cost airline flew to Melbourne for about two-and-a-half years, carrying roughly 140,000 passengers per year.
The Civil Aviation Safety Authority’s decision to ground Tigerair in August 2011 ended the Canberra-to-Melbourne route.
Virgin have since bought the airline, and it was rebranded in 2013.
Mr Barr believes the flights will inject $17 million into the local economy, and support 124 jobs.
“This is such an exciting time for aviation in Canberra,” Mr Barr said.
“International flights will start for the first time next month and we can now add this low cost link to Melbourne that Canberrans have been crying out for”, he said.
Mr Sharp said there had been “overwhelming demand” for the cheap air link between the two cities.
He said the low fares would help grow the domestic air travel market in both cities.
“We are confident the new route will prove popular for our core market of budget and leisure travellers,” he said.
The daily return service is expected to carry 2500 people a week between the two cities.
The ACT government has pushed hard to establish new flights interstate and abroad.
Singapore Airlines’ direct flights to Wellington and Singapore are due to begin next month, and routes to Auckland and China are also the subject of early discussions.