Jetstar flights grounded

Jackson Lavell-LeeAugusta Margaret River Times
Jetstar yesterday postponed its first Busselton to Melbourne flights form Busselton Margaret River Airport.
Camera IconJetstar yesterday postponed its first Busselton to Melbourne flights form Busselton Margaret River Airport. Credit: Getty Images

Jetstar yesterday cancelled its scheduled first flight from Busselton to Melbourne amid a 60 per cent reduction of domestic flights which will see 20,000 employees put on leave.

The first flight to Melbourne from Busselton-Margaret River Airport had been due to leave on Wednesday.

The announcement ends days of speculation surrounding the airline which, along with parent company Qantas, will ground more than 150 aircraft. A Jetstar spokesman said the airline would reschedule the launch date in the coming months once conditions in the travel market improved.

“Given the current travel environment, we’ve made the difficult decision to postpone the launch of the Busselton-Melbourne service,” he said.

“We are committed to the service and we want to launch it at a time when it will be successful from day one. We’re grateful for the ongoing support of the WA Government, the City of Busselton and the South West community, and we look forward to confirming the new launch date in the coming months.”

He said passenger demand for the service was strong before the COVID-19 impact.

The decision pauses the $72.42 million development that has been four years in the making.

Vasse MLA Libby Mettam said the decision was understandable given the circumstances, and the launch needed time to be given the “best chance to succeed.”

“When these flights do resume, it is important all our businesses are open, events are happening, and the region is performing at its best,” she said.

“The McGowan Government must provide a significant marketing boost to kickstart tourism in this region when the public health concerns are over.”

The WA Government has spent $43.25 million on the airport and airline attraction, and a further $3.265 million to upgrade terminal infrastructure to allow Jetstar’s service to begin.

Jetstar is offering credits on flights booked from Busselton to Melbourne if customers cancel before March 31.

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