Passengers leave their plane at Avalon airport. Photo: Michael Clayton-Jones
Jetstar will stay on at Avalon Airport until at least April 2015 after the Napthine government stitched together a rescue deal for Victoria's struggling second airport on Tuesday night.
The budget airline announced last week it was considering abandoning the airport near Geelong, because its five daily flights from there were chronically unprofitable.
The state government has reached a multimillion-dollar agreement with Jetstar and airport owner Linfox in which all would contribute to the airline staying put.
It is understood the government will put in the lion's share of $5.5 million, with Jetstar and Linfox each contributing $2.75 million to the rescue package.
A spokesman for the government said in the days since Jetstar's announcement it might leave Avalon, it had ''been working very hard with Jetstar and Linfox to secure the future of Avalon Airport for the region in the medium term''. He said the public also needed to show its support for Avalon Airport if it wanted it to continue operating passenger flights beyond mid-2015.
''To ensure the sustainable future of Avalon in the long term, business, government and local communities need to get behind Avalon and Jetstar services,'' the spokesman said.
''The government will continue to work with Linfox to focus on increased food exports and freight to and from the airport, as well as attracting international and more domestic flights and carriers.''