The first flight leaves Bendigo. Photo: BILL CONROY PRESS 1.

QantasLink’s inaugural direct flight from Bendigo to Sydney took to the skies early Monday, marking the first commercial flight from the regional Victorian city in more than 30 years.

Flights to Sydney operate six days per week, and QantasLink chief executive officer John Gissing said the new route was an example of the national carrier growing its network to meet demand and supporting regional Victoria.

“We’re excited to now be flying direct to Bendigo, saving local travellers time and encouraging more people from Australia and around the world to visit the region,” said Mr Gissing.

“The response to the Bendigo flights has been very positive, with several of our first flights completely sold out. We’re also seeing strong bookings around school holidays, and during the week as business travellers take advantage of the convenient direct flight for their regular trips to Sydney.”

The City of Greater Bendigo Council’s upgraded Bendigo Airport is the newest terminal in the Qantas network and has been designed with a focus on seamless travel and modern convenience.

“Customers will experience one of the fastest and smoothest airport experiences on our network,” Mr Gissing added.

City of Greater Bendigo Mayor Margaret O’Rourke said she was excited to welcome Qantas to Bendigo and very pleased to have attracted a service that provides residents and businesses with regular travel to and from Sydney.

“We also see this as a great opportunity to attract more people to our city and region to live, work and visit. A service such as this enhances the experience of living regionally and places the world on our doorstep.”

Member for Bendigo East Jacinta Allan said it was fantastic to see Bendigo connected to regular flights to Sydney.

“This is a win for tourism and the regional economy and a vote of confidence in everything Bendigo has to offer.”

QantasLink will operate its 50-seat Q300 turboprop aircraft on the route, offering more than 30,000 seats each year. Flights will operate six times each week before increasing to daily over the peak summer season.

Bendigo is the 57th destination on the QantasLink network and the Qantas Group’s fourth destination in Victoria after Melbourne, Mildura and Avalon.