JETGONE: Low demand leads to Melbourne route cancellation
LOW booking numbers have been blamed for regional airline Jetgo's decision to cancel direct flights between Hervey Bay and Melbourne weeks before its first scheduled takeoff.
The announcement follows months of speculation after the airline's original launch of the flight route was pushed back from July to November 3 due to lack of interest.
But low booking numbers continued to plague the service, with only 54 people booking seats on the entire route.
Regional airline Jetgo made the decision to withdraw its planned flight route on Friday.
Hervey Bay Chamber of Commerce president Sandra Holebrook said poor planning combined with a disorganised marketing campaign doomed the flight route to fail.
The Chronicle previously revealed only one person had booked on the first flight between Hervey Bay and Melbourne, while eight were booked on the first flight departing from Melbourne.
Jetgo's Managing Director Paul Bredereck said lack of demand was primarily to blame.
Despite this, he said the airline had consulted with a number of organisations in the leadup to the service, including the Fraser Coast Regional Council, the business community, tourism bodies and operators.
"We were provided with data from advocates for the direct Melbourne flights campaign," Mr Bredereck said.
"We spent more marketing this route than we have previously ever spent on a new route."
Mr Bredereck said the airline had made the "commercial decision" to redeploy its aircraft on other routes.
"The entire JETGO team, wishes to thank those passengers who have supported the service, the Fraser Coast Regional Council and the Hervey Bay community.
"We apologise for the inconvenience this will cause some customers."