Moree-Sydney air route retained by Qantaslink
IT was confirmed today by Transport for NSW that QantasLink has been granted a further exclusive two-year licence to provide air services between Moree and Sydney.
Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall had stepped in earlier this year to keep the route regulated – one of only two in NSW – meaning a licence is required to operate air services on the route, creating a guaranteed service for the carrier holding the licence.
With memories of flight battles fresh in their mind, the Moree community rallied to support the incumbent airline through the selection process with a strong campaign led by the Moree Plains Shire Council and Mayor Katrina Humphries.
The MP hailed the decision as a win for the Moree community and commended the decision makers for taking local views into consideration during the licencing process.
“The Moree Plains Shire is an important agricultural centre so it is crucial regular passenger air services are secured,” Mr Marshall said.
“I applaud the community and council for the strong unwavering support and interest in achieving the best outcome possible with Qantaslink emerging from that process as the licenced carrier for two years from 30 September this year.
“I’m delighted to see them awarded that licence as the airline has a strong track record on the route and in country NSW and has the capacity and slot availability into Sydney and that’s a great plus.
“The Moree-Sydney air route carries around 34,000 passengers a year and is a vital lifeline for professionals, tourism and locals with a catchment extending into southern Queensland and far western NSW.”
Mr Marshall said that with a new two-year licence now in place, he would be using that period to fight for the community to have the right to allow their favoured carrier to continue operating beyond the contract period, without the need for another cumbersome and worrying tender process.
“While most us were confident QantasLink would emerge the winner form this tender process, it does seem ridiculous when the airline, community, council and the local MP all desired the status quo to be continued,” he said.
“In that circumstance, when all the players agree, it would make sense to have a process whereby the airline can continue to servicing Moree without another tender.
“I’ll be working with council to achieve this to give long-term certainty to the community, but in the meantime, let’s celebrate this victory and continue to support our air services.
QantasLink CEO John Gissing said the renewal of the licence to operate between Moree and Sydney for great news for local residents.
“QantasLink has proudly served the Moree community for 25 years, it is an important part our regional network,” Mr Gissing said.
“Our Q200 and Q300 turboprop aircraft which operate from Moree are also being upgraded with a refreshed cabin to provide our travellers with greater comfort and an even better inflight experience.”
Those airlines complying with the EOI were invited to submit applications for a licence. Applications closed in late July 2018 and were assessed in line with the requirements of the Air Transport Act 1964. This includes considering the needs of the public to be served by the proposed service.