PHOTOS, VIDEO: Alliance jet skids in to Gladstone for first time
ALLIANCE Airlines celebrated the touch down of their first flight to Gladstone this morning at Gladstone Airport.
It was a perfect chilly, blue sky morning on the tarmac and as the plane cruised to a halt, fire engines directed water cannons at the Fokker 70 jet as a celebration from both sides.
The passengers from Brisbane disembarked, many bewildered by the fuss.
First officer Tristan Leishman normally flies a Perth route, but this morning he was in the cockpit for the Alliance flight from Brisbane.
"It was good," he said of the flight, "nice and quick...a little bit of cloud".
Mr Leishman said the flight took all of 48 minutes from Brisbane.
The fact that Alliance jets will provide a faster service than what Virgin's ATR fleet could offer is one of the key selling points Alliance chief executive Lee Schofield hopes will attract customers.
"All our flights will be jet services ... the flight time of the jets will be much quicker," he said.
Mr Schofield flew up from Brisbane on the first Alliance flight.
"It was great" he said.
"There was a mix of excitement and an element of surprise."
He acknowledged Alliance would need to work hard to make the route a success.
"We've got a bit of work to do (but) we are going in with our eyes wide open," Mr Schofield said.
Gladstone Regional Council Mayor Matt Burnett said the arrival of Alliance was good news for the region.
"People would be worried that airline prices will go up. I think it will be the opposite," he said.
"We have a full jet service by Alliance, that's a good thing."
Alliance flights between Gladstone and Brisbane will offer a complimentary snack and beverage.