BENDIGO must throw its support behind a new airline set to launch in the city, according to Gold Air managing director Marcel Nolet.
Mr Nolet said bookings would open on September 15 ahead of the first flight in mid to late October.
He said local residents needed to change their mindsets if the business was to be successful.
“Unless Bendigo people get behind this airline, Bendigo will never have an airline,” he said.
“If the mindset doesn’t change, people will always travel to Melbourne by car and pay a lot more for it.
“We need support from the business community.
“We need the support of Bendigonians.”
Mr Nolet said the City of Greater Bendigo had been sceptical of the venture but was now supportive.
“This is history-breaking news and it’s something I think people need to embrace,” he said.
“Apart from the council initially being very sceptical about the project – they didn’t believe we were going to make it – the Bendigo community itself is very reluctant to change.
“The fact the people in Bendigo always thought they’ll just take the car and drive to Melbourne, that will substantially change.”
Mr Nolet said the $130 one-way ticket to Melbourne was affordable compared to the cost of petrol, CityLink and parking.
“It’s 25 minutes to fly and another 25 minutes or half-hour into the CBD,” he said.
“You’ve got the whole day of productivity in Melbourne and you can be back for dinner with your family.
“I did a bit of research in Melbourne with companies and they said the reason they never came to Bendigo was they were not prepared to waste three-quarters of their day driving.
“That’s a reason a lot of companies haven’t come to Bendigo.”
City of Greater Bendigo city futures director Stan Liacos said the council had always supported the new airline.
“We wish Gold Air all the best, not only for their sake but importantly for the sake of Bendigo’s continued development,” he said.
“We have been particularly supportive of the venture and have worked closely in recent months to get us to this point.
“We have given Gold Air access to the former terminal building and they have undertaken an excellent refurbishment.
“The development of Bendigo Airport and of regular public transport services is vital for the future economic prosperity of greater Bendigo.”