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Applause for Northern Inland air service expansion

Chair of Regional Development Australia – Northern Inland, Kevin Abey.
Chair of Regional Development Australia – Northern Inland, Kevin Abey.

Regional Development Australia – Northern Inland (RDANI) representatives have applauded the QantasLink announcement of expanded air services for the New England North West last week. With two new flights in and out of Tamworth and Armidale daily, the region will now be serviced by an additional 1,000 seats per week.
An additional five 50-seat Q300 aircraft will fly Tamworth-Sydney return each week, departing from the country music capital at 12:10pm weekdays. Another new Q300 service will fly Armidale-Sydney return, departing from Armidale at 8:40am weekdays.

“These expanded air services should be seen as signs of both current growth and resulting demand and general confidence in the future of this region,” RDANI Committee Chair, Kevin Abey said. “RDANI is working to facilitate growth, development and social inclusion across a broad range of areas. We are strategically building on strengths and responding to needs. Core infrastructure and services, like aviation transport have been identified as vital for regional development. Quite importantly, the new Armidale service departs Sydney at 7:10am which allows people to conduct a full day of business in Armidale.”

NSW Tourism Minister, Jodi McKay said that local economies will be bolstered as the air service expansion increases tourism capacity. However, Kevin Abey said such a transport service expansion will contribute to economic and social development across many sectors. Business, industry and professional people working in Northern Inland NSW will appreciate the flexibility of travel options to and from Sydney,” he said. “A broader range of transport options has quality of life implications for the region. It will also provide the convenience of more travel options for the ill and elderly residents of the region, who have to travel to Sydney for health reasons. There are many reasons why people have to fly to metropolitan areas these days.”

“Unless business people can travel daily, at various times, to and from the metropolitan areas, this region will not progress. Air services to and from the region are an integral part of its wealth creation. With this in mind, I urge QantasLink and the relevant authorities to continue to work together to facilitate the introduction of the larger Q400 services to Armidale.”

“It is always encouraging to see a service providing company actually rolling out a major capacity increase across regional areas of NSW, rather than rationalising big city consolidations. The QantasLink announcement will deliver many positive outcomes.”

The ‘Regional Aviation Reference Group’, facilitated by RDANI has played an important role in communicating the region’s needs and expectations to aviation service providers. Interim RDANI Executive Officer, Don Tydd steered the establishment of the Group in early February, 2009. It comprises a range of stakeholders including representatives from business, local government and education sectors.

“In March last year, we conducted an extensive air services survey. The questionnaire was a practical way of putting our case to the airlines, by providing documented evidence of the level of passenger demand across the region,” Mr. Tydd said. “The survey had a tremendous response and Brindabella Airlines credited it with having contributed to their decision to re-establish air services between Tamworth and Brisbane last year.”

“We appreciate QantasLink’s preparedness to come to our meetings, contribute and take on board input conveyed by the Aviation Reference Group,” he said. “RDANI is always keen to hear from people about the developmental issues and solutions they experience in their region. Correspondence should be emailed to: rdani@rdani.org.au .”

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