FREE FLIGHTS: Alliance to land in Gladstone with big offer
ALLIANCE Airlines' first flights to Gladstone will begin this month - and it looks like the regional airline is going above and beyond to help the new relationship take off.
Alliance will offer free return flights to passengers who book and fly on the first three trips out of Gladstone on July 17.
"It's a very genuine offer... we are encouraged by the enthusiastic support we have received from the city and business community," chief executive Lee Schofield said.
"It is simply our team's way of thanking Gladstone for supporting us from day one."
The regional airline took over the route from Virgin Australia after Virgin announced in May it would pull out of a series of regional centres including Gladstone, Bundaberg, Moranbah and Port Macquarie.
The airline's Brisbane to Gladstone schedule was confirmed on Friday, and will see 17 return flights to and from Gladstone take place every week, including a single flight on Saturday and two on Sunday.
All bookings for Alliance flights will still take place through the Virgin Australia website, and Velocity frequent flyer points will still apply to the new airline's flights.
Mr Schofield said Alliance stepped in to take over the route because it understood the importance of "reliable, frequent air access to (Gladstone) and to the region."
"We have become a participating community member in all cities that we fly into and over the coming months we will demonstrate this to Gladstone," he said.
The route will be serviced by 80-seat Fokker 70 jets, which are faster than Virgin's 68-seat ATR turboprob planes.
Flights are scheduled to take 60 minutes but an Alliance spokesperson said actual flying times could be as little as 40 minutes.
Passengers who receive free return flights must book them for dates between June 17 and December 1.
Go to www.virginaustralia.com to book tickets.