Jet ready to go
Owen Jacques | 27th January 2012
THE Coast will become a $3 million base for new commuter charter airline JetGo Australia as it prepares to begin fly-in, fly-out routes by late March.
After a year of negotiation, the company has announced it will build a maintenance hangar at Sunshine Coast Airport.
It follows revelations earlier this month that Skytrans would fly workers from Marcoola to Queensland mines owned by Rio Tinto.
However, emerging airline JetGo has been chartered on behalf of at least one Sunshine Coast mining services firm.
"Essentially we are operating a fly-in, fly-out service from Sydney, Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast, " a spokesman said but he declined to name clients on the grounds of commercial confidentiality.
He said the Coast was a top choice because the cost of ground lease for hangar construction in Brisbane was more than $250,000 a year. Access would also be easier with fewer aircrafts demanding access to the tarmac.
JetGo will be the first Coast commuter airline to use jets in the under 50 seat market, matching the commuting time of those who drove to Brisbane to work.
"Typically, our competitor's aircraft are turbo prop - from Brisbane to Emerald takes about one hour 40 minutes in a typical Dash-8. Our flights are approximately 50 minutes," the spokesman said.
The 37-seat Embraer 135LR jets could begin flying twice a week by late March, following final regulatory approval from the Civil Aviation Safety Authority. "A lot of the companies (using JetGo) will pick up workers in Brisbane, go via the Sunshine Coast then fly to Moranbah," he said.
This high-speed travel would create "a new world" for Coast workers, according to economic development councillor Lew Brennan.
"It's an opportunity for us to break into new markets and new business," he said.
He credited airport general manager Peter Pallot with a "tremendous amount of hard work".
"I would also like to congratulate the company that has stepped up and committed to the Coast," Cr Brennan said.
As previously said by myself, i wish them all the success and look forward to seeing their ERJ 135'S in Queensland skies.(Lloyd)