It's true. The Whitsunday region is blessed to have two domestic airports; the Whitsunday Coast Airport (Proserpine) and the Great Barrier Reef Airport on Hamilton Island. You can fly into one airport and out of the other, or choose to catch a return flight from the same airport. When deciding how to navigate your choices of access into the region, there are a few things to consider first.
Whitsunday Coast Airport Proserpine (PPP)
Located approximately 14 minutes from Proserpine along the Bruce Highway, or 25 minutes from Airlie Beach, the Whitsunday Coast Airport is serviced by Jetstar with direct daily flights to/from Brisbane and Sydney with connecting flights to Melbourne Virgin Australia flies direct from Brisbane with connecting flights from Sydney and Melbourne. Tigerair has direct flights from Sydney.
If you are boarding your bareboat charter from Abell Point Marina in Airlie Beach, it is better to fly into Whitsunday Coast Airport. While you may find (sometimes) flights are cheaper into the Great Barrier Reef Airport, the cost of a ferry from Hamilton Island to Port of Airlie ($53.50 one way for an adult OR a child up to the age of 14), and then a taxi to Abell Point Marina makes it a hefty transfer as opposed to a $22 shuttle and 25 minutes ride from Whitsunday Coast Airport.
Great Barrer Reef Airport Hamilton Island (HTI)
Flying into Hamilton Island is a memorable experience. The plane cruises the Australian coastline and out over the Whitsunday islands on its approach to the run, making for some great holiday snaps as you come into land of the beautiful scenery and islands that you'll be sailing around. It has direct flights from Sydney and Brisbane with Virgin Australia, direct flights from Sydney and Cairns Qantas and Cairns and connecting flights from Melbourne and Brisbane with Virgin Australia, Qantas and Jetstar. Sometimes you can find a great flight deal into 'Hammo', but as mentioned above, if you're picking up your bareboat from Abell Point Marina, take into consideration the cost to get to it at Abell Point.
If you are picking up your bareboat from Hamilton Island marina, then, of course, it's a no-brainer to fly into the Great Barrier Reef Airport. It does cost $415 each way for the bareboat to be delivered by Luxury Yachts Whitsundays to Hamilton Island for you, and $415 to be picked up again after your charter and brought back to Abell Point Marina. Weigh these costs up with the cost of a flight into Proserpine and a ferry from Port of Airlie to Hamilton Island instead. Are you still with me? Or are you confused?
Depending on where you live and are flying from, you may be dictated by the airline from your nearest airport as to which of the two airports in the Whitsundays you have no choice but to fly in to. But, if you have a carrier that flies into both airports, take into consideration where you are picking the bareboat up from, and the time of your flight arrival and departure times, as your briefing on the boat starts at 8:30am sharp at Abell Point Marina, or by 11am at the latest at Hamilton Island.