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QantasLink’s Moree flights locked in until 2022

Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Paul Toole touched down in Moree this week to announce the NSW Government’s decision to extend QantasLink’s air transport licence until March, 2022.

The Sydney to Moree air route is a vital service to the Plains, connecting the community to the city and aiding in the support of tourism and rural economy.

Moree Plains Shire Council’s Acting Director of Engineering and Airport Manager, Alan Lawrance welcomed the announcement.

“The return of regular flights into Moree was only announced last month, it is great to see these flights will continue for the next two years and a corporate carrier like Qantas is helping to connect the city to the country,” Mr Lawrance said.

“The flights to and from Sydney are important to our community as they offer tourists the opportunity to take a dip in our artesian baths and enable professional operators to attend meetings and continue trading business in Moree.

“While Moree currently receives fewer flights than before the COVID-19 travel restrictions came into effect, last night’s announcement is a sign that Qantas sees a bright future in Moree and flights can increase to their usual daily return trips when it is safe to do so.”

Celebrating the news that QantasLink will contrite serving Moree for the next two years last night, Moree Chamber of Commerce board member Phoebe Watts, left, Moree Plains Shire Mayor Katrina Humphries, Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall, Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Paul Toole, General Manager Lester Rogers and Economic development Manager Mark Connolly, with QantasLink staff.

The QantasLink service between Sydney and Moree returned last month, offering regular return flights on Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings.

Moree Plains Shire Council Mayor Katrina Humphries is pleased to see Moree’s relationship with Qantas continue.

“Our relationship with Qantas has always been rock solid, and we appreciate having an air service in these difficult times and look forward to continuing this relationship with QantasLink,” Cr Humphries said.

“One of the biggest concerns around our air service is the security of the Moree to Sydney aircraft scheduling into Mascot.

“Access to medical professionals is vital to the community and we rely heavily on being able to have access to medical professionals come to Moree, as well as community members seeking medical support in Sydney.”

Member for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall said the Sydney to Moree route would continue to remain regulated, supporting the region’s access to medical services, economic development and tourism opportunities.

“This announcement gives the Moree community continued certainty and security about its direct air link to Sydney, which is absolutely vital for the local economy,” Mr Marshall said.

“In a very uncertain time at the moment, this news will come as a huge relief and boost of confidence to the Moree district, which has been hit hard by drought and now the COVID-19 disruption.

“Moree Plains Shire Council and the local community have made it clear they love their air service and the current carrier and this cements that relationship and ensures it continues.

“Mayor Katrina Humphries has been a fierce advocate for the retention of the current service and I’m delighted that the Minister listened to the community and extended the current contract.”

Mr Marshall said the licence and operation of the route would remain the same as it has been for the past two years.

“It was crucial there was no disruption for the community or QantasLink on this route and it’s been great to see flights come back to Moree after a short hiatus due to COVID-19,” Mr Marshall said.

“At the end of the two-year extension, Transport for NSW is obligated under current legislation to consult with the community and council again and conduct an open licensing process but I see no reason why the Flying Kangaroo won’t continue in the skies above Moree for many years to come.”

Mr Toole said Moree Plains Shire was an agricultural centre for NSW and the continued availability of an air service to Sydney was critical for locals and business.

“We know this air service really matters to the community. Adam and Moree Plains Shire Council have been working hard to ensure it continues and I’m glad we’ve been able to reach a decision that continues to benefit people living in the bush,” Mr Toole said.

“QantasLink will continue to make decisions on the timetable, frequency of services and the aircraft which will be used over the remaining years of the contract.”

QantasLink CEO John Gissing said as the national carrier, they understood the importance of reliable air travel for regional communities.

“We’re pleased to be continuing our long-standing flights from Sydney to Moree, in partnership with the NSW Government,” Mr Gissing said.

“These services will ensure Moree continues to be just a short flight away from Australia’s largest city, providing key connectivity for tourists, businesses and visitors.”

For more information regarding updated flight services, please visit the Qantas website: https://www.qantas.com/au/en.html.

 For more information regarding social distancing measures implemented at the Moree Regional Airport please see our media release: https://www.mpsc.nsw.gov.au/index.php/hot-topics/media-releases/965-moree-regional-airport-and-qantaslink-service-2

Media Release: Thursday, July 16, 2020

Image: Simon Scott