Investigations are under way to determine how much funding is needed to upgrade the runway at the Warrnambool airport.
Warrnambool Airport Advisory Committee chairman Stephen Lucas said this step would allow the city council to lobby for funding to lengthen and strengthen the main runway to enable larger aircraft to land in the city.
The Standard asked new budget airline Bonza whether it would consider introducing flights to and from Warrnambool.
Mr Lucas said he believed there would be strong demand for this service.
"The first thing we need to do is get funding for upgrades to allow the airport to accommodate the aircraft that Bonza are flying," Mr Lucas said.
"However, the group of councils in this area would be keen to speak to airlines like Bonza in the lead-up to having the work done at the airport."
Mr Lucas said he believed flights to and from the city would be well utilised.
"There has always been demand there," he said.
Bonza's chief commercial officer Carly Povey told The Standard the airline would be open to discussions about operating from the city.
"We are thrilled to announce Bonza has been granted its Air Operator Certificate," Ms Povey said
"Right now, our team of legends are focused on wheels up of our initial route map.
"Once all 17 destinations and 27 routes are in the air, we'll be working hard to earn the right to grow, adding many more destinations."
Ms Povey said low cost air travel stimulated new leisure tourism.
"We'd love to see further growth in regional Australia, such as Warrnambool," she said.
Ms Povey also said an upgrade may be a factor.
"Often runway infrastructure upgrades are the key to delivering significant tourism benefits and we remain committed to working with airports, councils and government in unlocking growth opportunities," she said.
Mr Lucas told The Standard last year the airport regularly receives calls from people inquiring about flights to and from 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.
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.
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