The peak body for Dubbo businesses is hoping to see direct return flights from the city to Melbourne and Brisbane start again sooner rather than later.
It’s been one month since carrier JetGo entered voluntary administration, grounding Dubbo’s air connections to the two interstate capitals.
Dubbo Chamber of Commerce president Matt Wright emphasised the importance of the air routes, which had been a “feather in our cap for the past couple of years”.
“Chamber’s probably a little bit like the rest of the city, waiting with bated breath as to which carrier, if any, council might be chatting to to fill that gap,” he said.
To have direct links to the five big cities of Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Canberra and Newcastle had been something not a lot of other regional centres had been able to lay claim to, Mr Wright said.
“So to have lost those I suppose, it certainly does bring us back to the pack a bit,” he said.
“I’m sure council are working quite hard to fill that hole, but we’d love to see it filled very quickly.
“I know it can be a slow process, we know how long it took to get Jetgo here in the first place, there was a lot of negotiations… so we know how long these things can take.”
Mr Wright is hoping other carriers will “see Dubbo as an opportunity now”.
Dubbo mayor Ben Shields told the Daily Liberal on Thursday the council was talking to parties, but said there was not much more he could say currently, and cited commercial in confidence.
When asked if he was confident links to Brisbane and Melbourne would be a reality within two months, he said: “I am pretty sure there will be some sort of outcome pretty soon”.
“The community has made it very clear to myself and council to have this resolved sooner rather than later, so it’s one of my focuses at the moment,” he said.
On Thursday a new report from JetGo’s administrators estimated its liabilities at $38.7 million, including $270,000 owed to Dubbo Regional Council.