IN WHAT has been dubbed a Christmas miracle, the Flying Kangaroo made its long-awaited return to the skies over Moree on Tuesday.
The holidays plans of passengers were salvaged when QantasLink conducted the first flights in or out of the town since the collapse of Brindabella Airlines.
Moree's Larry and Narelle Williams were ecstatic to scrap their contingency plans of an arduous early morning drive to Tamworth on Christmas Eve in favour of a direct flight.
The duo had booked tickets to Sydney on Brindabella prior to its demise to have Christmas with Mr Williams' son Steve, who in January will travel overseas for nine months.
Mr Williams said he had not been relishing the thought of navigating the busy roads between Moree and Tamworth during peak Christmas traffic.
"It's fantastic, we're just thrilled that Qantas has been able to do this for us," he said.
"We were going to get in the car and drive to Tamworth, which is obviously three or three-and-a-half hours.
"But it would have been worse coming back because we would have been driving back on Friday night."
Mr Williams, who works for Moree Real Estate and is a frequent flyer, said the best Christmas present the town could get would be the permanent return of QantasLink.
"We're just praying for Qantas to come back to Moree full-time, that's for sure," he said.
"We'd love to them back here because they provided a great service and we should never, ever have lost them."
Moree mayor Katrina Humphries said she was delighted to see air services return to the town under a temporary arrangement that expires in March.
She said she hoped Transport for NSW would consult with the community before appointing a new carrier to the route.
"It's just fabulous," she said. "I've had a couple of people ring and say 'Skippy's back! I just saw Skippy fly over'.
"I'm hoping that (Member for Barwon) Kevin Humphries and the Department of Transport will see fit to include not just council, but the community in the process.
"It's the community that pay for the tickets and they should have a say as to who they're travelling with."