Unveiled to visiting media this week was Norfolk Air, a Boeing 737-200 sporting the island’s green, blue and white colours, a stylised Norfolk pine on its tail and website address emblazoned along the fuselage and engine pods.
Norfolk Air is the result of an agreement between Melbourne-based charter operator Ozjet and the Norfolk Island Government.
Flights began under a Qantas codeshare in May last year and have already risen to four services a week from Sydney and three from Brisbane. Brisbane flights will increase to four per week later this month, and a new Monday service is due to start from Newcastle on May 7.
“Our agreement with Ozjet has expanded to five-year contract, such is the success of the relationship,” said Norfolk Island Chief Minister David Buffett.
“This has given us our own locally-based airline and 11 young Norfolk Islanders who have been trained as cabin crew. Decisions are made by an airline manager under the guidance of a local management committee, and the Qantas codeshare means our tickets are available on Qantas’s global distribution system.
“The Norfolk Island Government never set out to become an airline operator, but the relationship with Qantas and Ozjet is such that we are feeling very comfortable with our new role and are even looking at making a small profit while managing to keep ticket prices to very competitive and attractive levels.”
Mr Buffett said visitor numbers from Australia had risen more than 30 percent since the new service began, prompting the government to increase capacity out of Australia to a total of nine flights a week from May 7.
Located 1600km north-east of Sydney and an external territory of Australia, Norfolk is home to the descendants of the Bounty mutineers and boasts its own language, a colourful convict history, dramatic coastal scenery, pristine beaches, coral lagoons, 35 great restaurants and cafes, one of the world’s most scenic golf courses and exciting adventure activities such as kayaking, mountain biking and scuba diving.
Bookings are available from travel agents or via www.norfolkair.com and www.qantas.com. For general information on Norfolk Island visit www.norfolkisland.nf or call toll-free 1800 214 603 for a free information pack.