THE GATES to Brisbane have opened as Fly Corporate launches a twice-weekly return service from Tamworth.
The milk-run service will pick up passengers in Dubbo, Orange, Melbourne and Wollongong on the way and Tamworth's positioning means it will be the only regional centre to fly direct.
The news will provide a huge boost to the city's business economy, Tamworth Regional Council mayor Col Murray said.
"I think this is a really excellent outcome, Fly Corporate have proven to be first class corporate citizens to the Tamworth community and this is a great example of how they continue to be that way," he said.
"This is a service that will be of real value to the community and I urge people to consider using it when they can to make sure we can keep it."
Tamworth travellers will be offered a Monday flight with Tuesday return, and a Thursday flight with Friday return at this stage.
The flights were able to be reinstated thanks to a grant agreement with the federal government to provide a minimum weekly schedule that will launch on Monday.
It will support the movement of passengers and essential freight like critical medicine and personal protective equipment used in the fight against COVID-19.
For the council it means a further income at Tamworth Airport, that has been "hemorrhaging" funds since flights were ceased by major airlines Qantas and Virgin Australia.
"The revenues are severely reduced and any additional revenue will be well received," Cr Murray said.
Passengers to Brisbane will need to abide by QLD government border restrictions.
Anyone who has been in a COVID-19 declared hotspot in the last 14 days will need to self-quarantine unless they were there for an essential purpose like going to a funeral or need to re-enter for work.
Fly Corporate chief executive Andrew Major said it was great news for regional communities who can retain vital air links.
"This program provides critical connectivity at a key time for regional Australia and positions regional airlines to rebuild their scheduled services to pre-pandemic levels upon resolution of the current crisis," he said.
"We have undertaken a thorough review of our procedures to ensure that appropriate travel health measures are in place to ensure a safe, pleasant and comfortable journey for our passengers."