Miserable conditions didn't stop inaugural flight
IT WAS a flight that took three years of negotiations to finally get to Gladstone - but miserable conditions yesterday meant it nearly didn't land.
Anxious community leaders and first-time passengers breathed a sigh of relief when lights appeared through the clouds and the inaugural Sydney to Gladstone QantasLink service touched down.
QantasLink direct flights on 74-seat Q400 aircraft between Sydney and Gladstone mean a second capital city has direct access to the busy Gladstone region.
QantasLink will initially offer eight return flights weekly, including twice daily on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays.
Mayor Gail Sellers was one of several community leaders invited to travel on the first flight to Sydney.
She said the council became aware of the need for a direct service three years ago.
"We were initially approached by developers who were travelling to the region frequently," Cr Sellers said.
"Many were flying up from Sydney, which would mean they'd have to catch at flight at 4am."
Cr Sellers encouraged community members to take advantage of the $79 introductory fare sale.
Family connections 'soar'
IT'S not just developers set to benefit from direct flights to and from Sydney.
For many Gladstone residents, the new service means more time with loved ones.
New Mum Erin Etherton moved to Gladstone last year for her husband's work, leaving friends and family behind.
When direct flights to Sydney were announced last year, Erin was quick to stock up. Yesterday, Erin's parents Norm and Carol took the first direct flight to Sydney.
For Norm and Carol, it means they'll be able to see their young granddaughter more often, and with a lot less hassle.
Erin said the flights would make going home easier.
"With the baby, we were driving to Rockhampton to get the direct flights down from there," she said.
Direct Sydney Service
- QantasLink now operates eight return flights a week between Sydney and Gladstone.
- Flights will operate twice daily on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays, providing customers with access to 1200 seats per week.