Tamworth residents will soon be able to book flights to Melbourne for the first time, with a direct service set to take off next week.
Despite Virgin cancelling all flights in and out of the city, and QantasLink reducing its service to twice a week, Fly Corporate is taking off to Melbourne.
Ironically, the it's COVID-19 crisis itself that has meant the airline can launch the new route.
Fly Corporate last week announced it will reopen flights to Brisbane. The airline had previous grounded flights to and from Tamworth as a result of the coronavirus crisis, which has devastated the industry.
But the airline's Manager Airline Network Jeff Boyd today announced it will actually expand its service with a service to the Victorian capital, thanks to federal government support.
The route expansion was a "funny coincidence" - the triangular route makes business sense because of the way they've structured government-subsidised flights, Mr Boyd said.
"There's no point having point-to-point services when there's so few people (flying)," he said.
"So by triangulating a lot of our ports we've managed to provide extra services if you like."
The grant agreement between the Commonwealth and Fly Corporate is set to last a maximum of six months. The subsidy is designed to support the movement of passengers and essential freight needed for the fight against the pandemic virus.
Flights will only be half-full in order to accommodate social distancing measures designed to reduce the spread of COVID-19. There will likely only be 16 or so passengers on the flight.
But if the route proves popular, the regional airline could consider maintaining the Victorian link, Mr Boyd said.
"We're looking for all sorts of options. As everyone is well aware, the corona crisis isn't going to finish on Tuesday and we go back to normal on a Wednesday. It's going to be a very slow road to recovery," he said.
"We may well look at continuing to do this in our own right once the government subsidies come to a halt."
Fly Corporate will fly two return services on the route from Monday. Flights to Armidale will also reopen next week.