Last month QantasLink gave the residents of NSW’s Sapphire Coast the ultimate gift, with the launch of a direct Sydney-Merimbula service, which Chris Tudehope was lucky enough to jet off on.
The announcement of the new Sydney-Merimbula flights, which will run until October 2021, came at the same time as the announcement of a new Melbourne-Merimbula service from 1 February 2021.
Excited? I am.
On top of all the good news, I was lucky enough to take off on the inaugural flight of this new Qantaslink route.
So what’s the new service like? Read on to find out.
The first flight
First off, let’s start with the new Merimbula flight. I was lucky enough to be onboard the fairly full flight, leaving a grizzly Sydney day, for some Sapphire Coast sunshine.
The excitement in the air was palpable, with some Sapphire Coast residents indicating they’d come to Sydney specifically for the new flight.
There was a genuine sense of excitement in the air that these new flights (alongside the existing flights operated by Regional Express via Moruya) will bring more business and tourism to the stunning region which had been so ravaged by January’s fires.
This excitement was only heightened when the QantasLink cabin crew announced in their welcome schpiel that the Sydney-Merimbula flights, initially scheduled to run for 14 weeks over the summer, are now going to continue running 4x weekly until at least October 2021, as a result of high demand on the route.
The flight was welcomed into sunny Merimbula by local media, dignitaries and tourism officials, with all passengers given a goodie bag (including a voucher for half a dozen oysters and a glass of wine at Wheeler’s in nearby Pambula – that’s lunch sorted).
From Melbourne to Merimbula
In further good news for the region, Melbourne-Merimbula flights will be launching 4x weekly from 1 February 2021, complimenting the Sydney services.
“As the national carrier, we have an important role to play in helping the industry recover from COVID-19,” said Qantas Group’s CFO, Vanessa Hudson, speaking from Merimbula today, “the best way to drive tourism is by making it even easier for Australians to explore incredible places in their
own backyard, especially with international borders closed for some time to come”
All Merimbula flights will be operated by newly-refurbished 50-seat Q300 aircraft, with flights from both Sydney and Melbourne taking a little over an hour to reach the home of some of the world’s best oysters and stunning beaches.
The great news for Merimbula joins a raft of additional routes and destinations that QantasLink has announced for south-eastern Australia.
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