QANTASLINK continues to keep the Moree community guessing over whether it intends to apply for an exclusive licence to service the town.
The national carrier’s regional arm maintains no decision has been reached, despite tenders for the route expected to open this week.
More than 300 people braved the heat yesterday
to gather at Moree Airport and show their appreciation for QantasLink’s decades
of service. Upon landing just before 11am, captain Rob Langfield and flight attendant Jen Rendy were greeted by a sea of people dressed in red and white.
They were each presented with hampers containing a selection of locally-produced foods and posed for photos with the grateful crowd.
The gesture comes after QantasLink stepped in after the collapse of Brindabella Airlines and offered relief flights to Sydney until March.
QantasLink CEO John Gissing said the airline was still weighing up if it will apply to Transport for NSW for the licence vacated by Brindabella.
“The community support has been overwhelming and we are touched by everyone’s efforts at today’s rally,” he said.
“At this stage no decision has been made to apply
to operate on the route on a permanent basis, but
we acknowledge and appreciate the sentiments expressed and thank the people of Moree.”
Josh McGregor from the Moree Airline Steering Committee said whatever QantasLink decides, the community should be proud of its campaign.
“We’re realistic that they’ve got a business to run and it’s got to be a business decision ultimately, but we’re fairly confident that we’ve got their attention,” he said.
“Everyone knows that Qantas has had its difficulties in recent times and they have to make some hard decisions, so we’re well aware that it’s a possibility they may not apply.”
Tourism Moree CEO Tammy Elbourne, who attended the rally, said Moree residents were genuinely thankful for what the airline had done for the town.
“They’ve been there for us for 20-plus years and they’re still there now helping us through this three-month period,” she said.