Sharp Airlines was established in 1990 to service south-eastern Australia. Its Head Office is based in Hamilton, Victoria. Despite the fact that many airlines had tried and failed before them, Sharp took over the Launceston to Flinders Island and return route in 2010. They have continued to provide a consistent and dependable service to the Island ever since.
The company carries approximately 14,000 return passengers between Launceston and Flinders Island each year with an additional 7000 to/from Essendon airport. There is a minimum service of 12 flights from Launceston to the Island per week, with increased flights during the summer season. The cargo is varied; business people, contractors and Island residents, as well as fresh fruit and vegetables!
Regular services are also provided from Essendon to Flinders Island and return.
Despite all the challenges of the pandemic, Sharp Airlines is proud of the fact that the company never stopped flying to the Island; that they have employees who have worked for the company for 40 years and longer. Sharp is pleased that it is currently nominated as Airline of the Year, but sees it more as an acknowledgement of its hard-working staff.
Everyone at Sharp Airlines understands the importance of a reliable air service, particularly to more isolated places like Flinders Island. While rough weather conditions may occasionally prevent a scheduled flight from landing, the community can take comfort knowing that Sharp will always come back for them, and that unlike passengers in other remote areas, they will not be waiting for days.
The company is also committed to meeting the more specific needs of the Island. If the weather is poor and the milk and fresh produce can’t arrive at Walkers’ supermarket by 10am, Sharp fully appreciates the implications; that a late arrival affects both the supermarket and its customers.
Sharp is also very aware of the important connection it provides to medical services on mainland Tasmania.
The airline believes in the importance of tourism to the Island community. Quite simply, for Sharp, tourism enables them to maintain their current service levels, which benefit all involved. It also understands an integrated approach to service where the airlines, the community and the economy are all part of a holistic, interconnected system; if one part fails, there is an immediate impact on the others. (This speaks to the natural ecosystems on which regenerative tourism is based.)
Sharp Airlines would like to see an ambassador-style ‘meet and greet’ initiative at the Whitemark terminal – a natural addition to the visitor experience, which also builds on the friendly culture encouraged by the airline. For Sharp, tourism is considered ‘like a tree with roots that go deep and wide’. It’s not about compartments or working in silos.
Regenerative tourism is about giving back and serving the needs of the community. Sharp Airlines responds to that principle in a number of different ways. In a purely economic sense, it pays substantial landing rights and other costs to the Flinders Council. It also contributes around $100,000 in donations per annum through its own community fund, as well as free flights under other, special circumstances. The company never loses sight of its responsibility to the businesses and residents of Flinders Island.
Sharp Airlines and its people have a simple philosophy - ‘if we do everything we can, to do the very best we can, everything will take care of itself’.
We are interested in celebrating concrete efforts that are being made to regenerate the Island, its culture, community, environment, and history. Examples might include businesses with a social or environmental purpose, and that reinvest back into the Island in demonstrable ways. These efforts are essential in strengthening the social-economic and environmental resilience of the Island in the future. Contact us if you would like to write a post or suggest a topic.