THE CARPET has been laid out as Qantas prepares to touch down in Bendigo.
Contractors have almost completed extensive renovations at the Bendigo Airport over the past two months including a sealed car park, an extended baggage area, seating as well as new toilet and internet facilities.
The first fully-booked flight from Sydney should touch down Sunday night, City of Greater Bendigo Business services manager Ben Devanny said.
"Ticket sales in April are going really well. Hopefully that can continue, going forward with locals getting on board," he said.
The renovations had been tailored to Qantas' 50-seat plane needs, including the airport's security profile, Mr Devanny said.
"Qantas are pretty well-branded in the building currently, because they are the airline that we have, but their is nothing to stop additional airlines looking at routes if this one (to Sydney) is successful," he said.
Qantas will not be the only new business at the site. Carlo Barrie is preparing to brew the first coffee for customers this weekend at the Bendigo Airport Cafe.
"I'm pretty excited ... it's taken a long time for the airport to take off, as they say. I think using good quality coffee for Qantas customers will go a long way to making sure they are happy," he said.
The cafe will serve coffee early in the morning as commuters prepare to board.
"It's a long flight, so if they want a bit of a snack and to relax," Mr Barrie said.
Car hire companies were also hoping to cash in with disembarking passengers, perhaps helping support tourism to the region, Mr Devanny said.
Avis Bendigo manager Scott McLeod said his company had taken bookings for next week.
"We've even got them (bookings) out as late as May, at this stage," he said.
Avis was also planning to make cars available at the airport for people looking to book as they left their plane, though he said that was not as common in regional areas as it was at major airports.
"People may not know there is a car rental counter here yet, so we may surprise them by having that type of opportunity," Mr Scott said.
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