Dubbo mayor Ben Shields says he can’t give a time frame for a return of direct Melbourne and Brisbane airlinks but he wants to see it “resolved as soon as possible”.
One week after airline JetGo went into voluntary administration Cr Shields reports discussions “with multiple different groups” are taking place.
He offered assurances he deemed it an “urgent priority” for the council and said he was determined to work as hard as he could to see the return flights to Brisbane and Melbourne continue.
JetGo had been servicing Dubbo since 2015 before financial woes saw it suspend all flights and then enter voluntary administration.
On Friday Cr Shields offered assurances the air routes were on the agenda.
“Council has been in discussions with multiple different groups when it comes to the JetGo issue, including other airlines,” he said.
“Everything is looking extremely positive.
“I’ve made it very clear to our economic development team and also our airport management team that this is an urgent priority for the council to sort this matter out.
“The public has made it very clear they want to see Brisbane and Melbourne routes continue.
“I’m certainly determined to work as hard as I can to make that happen.”
When asked by the Daily Liberal if he was confident the services would return in one, two, or six months, he said: “I can’t put an answer on that.”
“All I can say at the moment is the discussions we’ve had right across the industry over various matters have been extremely positive,” he said.
“With that being the case, I’ve really asked our staff in airport management as well as economic development, to go as hard at this as they possibly can.
“This needs to be resolved as soon as possible.”
The addition of new air routes to and from Dubbo pushed annual passenger numbers to new heights at the city’s airport, with more than 217,000 passing through the terminal in 2016-2017.
Cr Shields “suspect(s)” the disruption to the two routes may have some impact.
“I believe a lot of people going to Brisbane and Melbourne may have to take flights to Sydney as opposed to driving…” he said.
“There’s certainly going to be an impact on the numbers, now whether that is offset by a general increase in flights to Sydney, I don’t know.”