There would be many in our city disappointed with Qantas' decision to base its second regional pilot school in Mackay and not Dubbo.
None would be more disappointed than our mayor.
He took every opportunity he could to spruik the virtues of the Dubbo Regional Airport to politicians (pictured), the public and airline industry movers and shakers.
But ultimately it wasn't enough; it appears Mackay has better weather than Dubbo and that was amongst the deciding factors
Dubbo Regional Council's bid to be a base for the airline's project was one of nine shortlisted from more than 60 last year.
Qantas claimed Mackay's "high proportion of clear weather days per year, access to uncongested airspace, access to support infrastructure and ability to attract students and trainers to live in the area" was what won it the right to host the flight school and the millions of dollars that will flow to the top end town as a result.
Qantas Group Pilot Academy executive manager Wes Nobelius said the airport, government and community had shown why Mackay would be an ideal place to train the next generation of pilots.
"Mackay offers optimal flying conditions and a sunny Queensland lifestyle which makes it an ideal site for a pilot academy," Mr Nobelius said.
There is no doubt Mackay is sunny, but you'd hardly say we don't have our fair share of sunny days. Our infrastructure at the airport is pretty good, and indeed there is scope for the construction of student and trainer accommodation at the expansive airport site. As for uncongested airspace, a quick check of the Mackay airport website shows about 20 flights arriving and leaving daily, our airport has about 15, so comparatively speaking it could be viewed as a similar amount of traffic in and out of both.
We might have missed out this time, but we hope Qantas' decision does not discourage our leaders from pushing ahead with further job-creating proposals, we think our city can and should win more of them.