A planned restart of an air passenger services from Warrnambool to Melbourne has failed to take off despite hopes the city had secured a new carrier.
Sharp Aviation pulled out of the region in June 2019 despite a number attempts to keep planes in south-west skies and in July 2020 a new operator announced they would be in the air within weeks.
But before they could even get off the ground, the state was plunged into another lockdown with the following 12 months spent in various states of restrictions and hard lockdowns.
The plan had been to initially start with three return flights on week days, and one-way flights on Saturday and returning on Sunday but it appears that venture is off the table, for now.
The city council, who operates the airport, said the uncertainty around travel had played a key role in any attempts to get a service back up and running.
But the council said discussions were ongoing.
"Over the past couple of years council has received a number of enquiries from flight operators interested in servicing the Warrnambool and region route to Melbourne," the council said.
"The impacts and uncertainty around travel over the past 18 months have made these operators understandably cautious but discussions are ongoing."
Sharp Aviation had pulled out its daily service after a $300,000 support package handed to it by the state government and Glenelg Shire and Warrnambool councils failed to lift passenger numbers.
Sharp's first flights out of Warrnambool took off in the 2000s, and a second attempt at a regular passenger service in 2015 failed to reach the heights of its original service when 15,000 to 16,000 passengers a year were using it.
The council director of city growth Andrew Paton has previously said a passenger plane service between Warrnambool and Melbourne was "critical" for the region and something a growing city needed.
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