QantasLink will be launching a new route from Sydney to Bendigo, marking the first regular commercial service to the historic Victoria city in over 30 years.

The airline says it will operate a six-times-weekly Bombardier Q300 service starting 31 March 2019. Additional flights will be offered during peak periods, it adds.

QantasLink says this service is four hours shorter per round trip than flying to Melbourne and then driving to Bendigo.  

Bendigo mayor Margaret O’Rourke says the service will boost tourism and business as a result. She says about 15,000 air passengers each year are expected visit the city, which is popular with tourists for its gold mining heritage.

There is also demand from the city’s manufacturers: Bendigo Manufacturing Group chairman Mark Brennan says day trips from Sydney for clients and businesspeople are now feasible because of the service.

The new service was made possible due to improvements to Bendigo Airport, says QantasLink CEO John Gissing. Starting in 2010, the city and state government began funding upgrades to the hangar and runway, the latter of which was widened and lengthened. This enabled the airport to support larger aircraft.

Gissing says this is the first regular commercial service at Bendigo Airport in 30 years. The last commercial service, which stopped in the 1980s, was operated by Bendigo Aviation Services, formerly known as Sovereign Airlines.