Virgin scraps its direct flights between Canberra and Hobart. Photo: Glenn Hunt
Passengers flying between Canberra and Hobart face longer travel times after Virgin Australia scrapped its direct services.
Virgin offered the only direct flights between the two cities, but will close the route from April 28 due to a number of reasons including limited demand.
The company launched three direct flights in each direction in April 2009, offering convenient and affordable access to Hobart ‘‘for a range of leisure and business opportunities for Canberrans’’.
The route, popular with politicians during parliamentary sitting periods, has also served the growing Tasmanian and ACT tourism sectors.
“Virgin Australia will continue to offer seats from Canberra to Hobart via Melbourne and Sydney, which is around 110 services each week,’’ a spokesperson said.
‘‘Guests holding tickets from 29 April will be reaccommodated on alternative Virgin Australia services.”
Tasmanian Labor Senator Lisa Singh this week wrote to Virgin Australia chief executive officer John Borghetti calling for the decision to be reversed.
‘‘I believe it is important that Hobart has a direct link to the national capital and fear we may be the only capital city that will no longer have a direct service,’’ she said.
‘‘Tasmania is very dependent on tourism and many visitors to Australia would find it easy to fly to Hobart from Canberra to embrace our food, wine and art especially MONA.’’
Senator Singh said CSIRO scientists travelling to Antartica and senior public servants would be required to fly via other capitals.
‘‘As well, Canberra is visited by hundreds of schoolchildren every year and the lack of a direct flight from Hobart will be an inconvenience,’’ she said.
Launching the service in April 2009, former Virgin chief Brett Godfrey said the flights were aimed at the tourism market and represented an attempt by Virgin to grow its share of air travel from the government and corporate travel sectors.