THE return of Bendigo-Sydney Qantas flights will help the region's business and tourism sectors recover from lockdown, the City of Greater Bendigo says.
Qantas on Wednesday announced the flights would return from December 7 after the NSW government confirmed it would reopen the border with Victoria on November 23.
There would be two flights per day on weekdays - a flight leaving from Sydney to Bendigo at 9.30am, and a flight from Bendigo to Sydney at noon.
City of Greater Bendigo tourism and major events manager Terry Karamaloudis said the city welcomed the resumption of flights.
"To say we're excited is an understatement," he said. "The partnership between the region and Qantas had been very successful up until COVID.
"We know that it's been a very popular route and Qantas has been delighted with how the route was performing.
"We have obviously had a setback and now, in a sense, we have to emerge from the wilderness again.
"But Qantas is a very motivated and professional organisation. We will need to quickly build the leisure and tourism market, as well as the corporate sector, so we can see the flights get back to pre-COVID levels."
Be.Bendigo chief executive Dennis Bice said the business community was also excited about Qantas' announcement and the reopening of the NSW border.
"It was a key part pre-COVID towards developing the business and tourism sector, so from that perspective we're all pretty excited," Mr Bice said.
"It's extremely important in terms of the economy and the sustainability of business. We need people to come to Bendigo and to the region to spend money.
"We all benefit from that border opening and the flights coming back.
"There is an element of excitement and some good news in recent times. After a tough six months, there is light at the end of the tunnel."
Mr Bice said the flight times were not ideal for businesses, but any flights at all were welcome.
"We would like to get back to the flight times we had previously," he said. "But we would rather have them flying than not at all.
"We have had a lot of enquiries from businesses about when the flights were returning. People are keen."
There had been discussion earlier this year about increasing the number of flights between Bendigo and Sydney or expanding the routes to places like Brisbane and Adelaide.
Mr Karamaloudis said the city was very confident those talks would resume.
"The first priority is to reestablish the Bendigo to Sydney route," he said. "Beyond that, I think there will be an appetite to expand. When that will be, I'm not exactly sure.
"What we need to do is work hard on this with Qantas. We're up for the challenge. We have a good collective relationship. We would be very confident that Qantas has a vision for the future."
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