The first plane of the new highly-anticipated Qantas route touched down in Griffith today.
The plane's arrival marked the launch of the new route, which will see a 50-seater Qantas plane offer trips to and from Sydney every day of the week.
Dozens of residents, council members, and local business leaders gathered to witness the milestone moment as the plane hit the tarmac, and the first lot of passengers from Sydney arrived in Griffith.
Among the incoming passengers was QantasLink CEO John Gissing, who said he was delighted to finally bring Australia's national airline to the MIA.
The flying kangaroo has landed in GriffithJohn Gissing, QantasLink CEO
"What a wonderful sight to see - the flying kangaroo has landed in Griffith," Mr Gissing said.
"It is great to have Griffith, the MIA and the Riverina now firmly on the Qantas map, and they will stay there for a long time."
"For a long time there has been a monopoly here, and so we're bringing competition, which means we're bringing lower fares."
Mr Gissing said it was a long-term goal to make the route a "double-daily", where Griffith residents can fly to Sydney in the morning and return in the evening - and vice versa.
Flights between Griffith and Sydney were previously only offered by Regional Express, and there are hopes the introduction of the Qantas flights and it's $189 tickets will drive cheaper prices from both airlines.
Griffith resident Lloyd Blanchard flies to Sydney "two or three times a year" and was a passenger on the first Qantas flight departing Griffith today.
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He said having the added option was "fantastic" and "a great option".
"Hopefully it will bring prices down because they have been a little exorbitant in previous years ... competition is always good," Mr Blanchard said.
Director of Destination Riverina Murray NSW, Kate Shilling, said she hopes the flights will fuel tourism in the region, by making travel to Griffith simpler than ever before.
"When you think about the connectivity, it's a really critical element in making it as easy as possible to visit our region," Ms Shilling said.
"There's a lot of buzz from both existing businesses and new ones."
Griffith Mayor, Councillor John Dal Broi said the flights showcased Griffith's rise in prominence over the past few years.
"Connectivity to Sydney is critical to our economy and lifestyle, and council is pleased residents and businesses will now have additional flight scheduling options," Cr Dal Broi said.
"The introduction of these flights recognises Griffith as a growing regional city with increasing potential."
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