There is growing demand for direct flights to and from Warrnambool, according to the city's Airport Advisory Committee chairman Stephen Lucas.
He said the airport regularly received calls from people inquiring about flights to and from a number of capital cities.
"I think as the airport is potentially the gateway to the Great Ocean Road - and all the other tourism destinations that are being developed around Indigenous tourism - it's important Warrnambool acts as a hub for major cities," Mr Lucas said.
He said there was a worldwide shift towards people choosing to fly directly to regional areas.
Mr Lucas said Bendigo's services to destinations including Sydney, Brisbane and Perth were proving popular.
"The QantasLink service from Bendigo to Sydney has been very successful since it was enacted," he said.
"Connectivity is really important for regional areas."
Mr Lucas said he believed a flight service out of Warrnambool would mainly be used for tourism purposes but would also allow people to travel easily to capital cities for work.
He said he believed there would be high demand for flights from Sydney to Warrnambool.
"I think connectivity from other cities is probably more important than Melbourne for tourism," Mr Lucas said.
The airport would need to undergo upgrades to allow services to capital cities, he said.
"We need funding to lengthen and strengthen the main runway to enable larger aircraft to land here."
Mr Lucas said he believed flights to and from the city would allow it to increase in popularity as a tourism destination.
"The reality is that this is a global change - we're seeing a lot more direct flights everywhere around the world now to regional centres," he said.
In March it was revealed a planned restart of an air passenger service from Warrnambool to Melbourne had 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 of 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 COVID-19 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 weekdays, and one-way flights on Saturday and returning on Sunday but it appears that venture is off the table, for now.
The city council, which 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 inquiries from flight operators interested in servicing the Warrnambool and region route to Melbourne," the council said.
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