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21st of July 2018

Economy



Hobart-Perth direct flights to begin in September as Virgin readies to head west

Virgin Australia planes

Direct flights from Hobart to Perth will become available from September, the Tasmanian Government has announced.

Premier Will Hodgman announced Virgin Australia would start operating direct flights to Western Australia in time for the September school holidays.

Tourism Tasmania statistics showed more than 50,000 people visited the island state from Western Australia in the year to March.

Tourism Industry Council of Tasmania chief executive Luke Martin told ABC Radio Hobart it would open opportunities for more international visitors, with Qantas now offering direct flights from Perth to London.

"The ability to be able to market Tasmania as a single-stop destination from London, or any of the European or Asian markets, is just a game-changer for us," he said.

"But also there are 2 million people living in Western Australia who currently look at the proposition of coming to Tasmania potentially through a seven or eight-hour trip via stopping in Melbourne.

"To make that a direct service, I believe it is going to create really exciting growth out of the WA market."

In a statement, Virgin Australia announced from 17 September it would operate a thrice-weekly return service between Hobart and Perth on the airline's Boeing 737 aircraft.

In addition to this new Hobart to Perth route, Virgin Australia said it has increased capacity on several Tasmania routes "by up to 24 per cent", including two return services per week between Brisbane and Hobart, two return services per week between Sydney and Hobart and one seasonal return service per week between Brisbane and Launceston.

The new flights between Hobart and Perth are on sale now, with advance purchase fares starting from $269 one-way.

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