In a major boost to North-West tourism, Alliance Airlines, in conjunction with Virgin Australia, is to launch direct flights from Melbourne to Kununurra next year.
The three times weekly trial flights are scheduled to operate during the tourism season from May to August 2020 and open up access to iconic destinations such as the World Heritage-listed Purnululu National Park (Bungle Bungle), El Questro Wilderness Park, Lake Argyle, the Gibb River Road and the northern-Kimberley coast as well as iconic events such as the Argyle Diamonds Ord Valley Muster.
The East Kimberley Marketing Group, with the Shire of Wyndham East Kimberley and Alliance Airlines, confirmed the news, creating a valuable new Western Australian link into one of Australia’s most iconic tourism destinations.
The flight will utilise Alliance Airlines’ long-range Fokker 70 aircraft, seating 80 passengers and will be operated on a code-share arrangement with Virgin Australia, allowing passengers to connect through to other ports on the same ticket.
Tickets will be available through the Virgin Australia website and will go on sale in the coming weeks.
The direct flights, which will be about four hours in duration, will also improve travel options for local residents, reducing barriers to connectivity and improving the liveability of the region.
The East Kimberley Marketing Group recognised the need for improved connectivity to the region in a study conducted in 2016.
Michael McConachy, Chair of the East Kimberley Marketing Group, said that it was rewarding to see the direct flight service become a reality.
The air service will be underwritten by the Shire of Wyndham East Kimberley, the Kununurra tourism and business industry and the Department of Regional Development.
Tourism Western Australia has committed $250,000 towards a targeted marketing campaign that will showcase the Kimberley region to east-coast travellers.
Geoffrey Thomas – The West Australian
Saturday, 25 May 2019