The Andrews Labor Government has provided a vital lifeline to Sharp Airlines to keep flights between Essendon, Warrnambool and Portland in the air.
After close to thirty years of successful operation, Sharp Airlines was due to fly its last service this Friday.
The Labor Government has been working with the company on concerns over patronage and freight services of the route and is now stepping in to provide assistance.
In response, the Labor Government has joined with local governments in providing funding support to Sharp Airlines for six months and will work with the airline, Glenelg Shire Council, Warrnambool City Council, regional tourism bodies, and industry to increase passenger numbers.
These agencies will work together to explore new flight options, accommodation and tour packages to increase flight sales to attractions such as the Twelve Apostles, Tower Hill, Budj Bim and Cape Bridgewater.
The Labor Government’s assistance guarantees the twice-daily-weekday and Sunday services continue until July.
As noted by Minister for Regional Development Jaclyn Symes
“We’re getting on with the job of governing for all of Victoria – whether you use the service for business or tourism we want to make sure this service is accessible.”
“It’s now so important for the businesses, tourism operators and the community to demonstrate the ongoing need and importance of this service to the region to inform future operations.”
As noted by Sharp Airlines Managing Director Malcolm Sharp
“Sharp Airlines welcomes the Victorian Government’s support for keeping this vital service operating. We look forward to working with the relevant stakeholders to secure the service longer term.”
As noted by Warrnambool City Council Mayor Tony Herbert
“We’re excited about what the next six months could yield for Sharp Airlines and tourism to the Great South Coast.”
As noted by Glenelg Shire Mayor Anita Rank
“We appreciate the support provided by the Victorian Government to keep this essential service going. Airline connections are vital for regional Victorians, enabling them to stay connected to Melbourne and beyond.”