She was one of the first passengers to check in for JetGo flight JG055 to Brisbane on Wednesday morning.
Little did Loren Pajkovic know that, within about an hour of arriving at the Illawarra Regional Airport, she’d be named the 10,000th passenger to use the airline since flights began on October 30.
“It’s very exciting,” the first-time JetGo flyer, from Mount Keira, said. Ms Pajkovic – who was Brisbane-bound with her colleague (and passenger 9999), Stacey Sutherland, for work – received a $1000 travel voucher and a bag of JetGo merchandise to mark the milestone.
The winner said she’d use her voucher to fly “somewhere exciting” and praised JetGo for providing a “really convenient” service.
“Having to go to Sydney is a bit of a trek, so being able to wake up in the morning and ... jump on a flight locally is really good,” she said.
Earlier, each of the 18 passengers boarding the 11am Brisbane flight were given an orange envelope at check-in.
A short time later, Shellharbour mayor Marianne Saliba announced Ms Pajkovic as the lucky passenger, and everyone else opened their envelopes to find a $100 travel voucher inside.
Ms Saliba said 10,000 passengers in just over three months had exceeded expectations.
“It’s wonderful to see that our community is using this service, because the more the people use the service, and the greater demand there is, the better chance we have of maintaining it and also expanding it,” she said.
Among the passengers on Wednesday’s Brisbane flight was John Ashby, from Melbourne.
Mr Ashby flew into Albion Park earlier that morning and, after a brief stopover at the airport, got back on the same plane to continue his journey north.
“I’m an aviation enthusiast and it was a chance to go on a different airline and also get to a new airport,” Mr Ashby said.
“Having seen the [Qantas] 747 parked there, we’ve got a reason to come back now and visit again.”
JetGo’s customer service manager, Jennifer Sipple, said Wollongong was one of its top four destinations.
Ms Sipple said the response from the community had been “tremendous”, with people travelling from as far as Narooma to catch flights.
More than 350 flights have serviced the Illawarra since October 30. Seven have been diverted due to the weather.