No fly zone: carriers spooked by Moree's 'Qantas worship': source

AN AVIATION insider has warned the Moree community that its vigorous lobbying for the return of QantasLink could put off other potential carriers.

Residents have attracted national media attention over their campaign to have QantasLink return to the town permanently following Brindabella’s collapse.

More than 300 people turned out on Tuesday to welcome the QantasLink crew in a bid to turn the head of the Flying Kangaroo’s CEO Alan Joyce.

But while the demonstration was deemed a success, the unequivocal support for QantasLink has not gone unnoticed by alternative airlines.

A source within the aviation industry told The Leader this week that other carriers were concerned the community would not give them a fair go should they apply.

Josh McGregor, a spokesman for the Moree Airline Steering Committee which has led the QantasLink campaign, said members had been conscious not to alienate any airlines.

“We’ve certainly considered that all the way through and that’s why we’ve made a focused effort not to say anything negative about any other airlines,” he said.

“We don’t have anything against any other airlines and we certainly don’t have anything against Rex at all.”

Transport for NSW is calling on airlines to submit expressions of interest (EOI) in exclusive licences to service Moree, Narrabri, Cooma, Cobar and Mudgee.

QantasLink has not indicated publicly whether it is prepared to commit to the Moree to Sydney route permanently when its temporary licence expires in March.

Regional Express (Rex) appeared to be the front-runner when it announced last month its intention to step-in and fill the void left in Moree by Brindabella.

The airline intended to use a two-month period leading up to Transport for NSW’s granting of a five-year licence to build its case for exclusive rights to the route.

But those plans were dashed when QantasLink was announced as the provider of relief flights until an airline could be appointed.

“Moree council indicated that they did not require any assistance from Rex for interim services,” a Rex spokesperson told The Leader yesterday.

Rex chief operating officer Garry Filmer said the airline was still interested in Moree, but was waiting on Moree Plains Shire Council to show its support.

“They really have to want us for us to go there,’’ he said. ‘’The ball is back in their court.’’

On Monday, Rex opened up its own EOI process and called on regional centres to submit applications directly to the company.

But the airline has stipulated that “only cities that can sustain above 30,000 annual passengers will be considered”, appearing to rule out Moree, which last financial year had just 27,000 passengers.n from page 9

“We don’t have anything against any other airlines and we certainly don’t have anything against Rex at all.”

Transport for NSW is calling on airlines to submit expressions of interest (EOI) in exclusive licences to service Moree, Narrabri, Cooma, Cobar and Mudgee.

QantasLink has not indicated publicly whether it is prepared to commit to the Moree to Sydney route permanently when its temporary licence expires in March.

Regional Express (Rex) appeared to be the front-runner when it announced last month its intention to step in and fill the void left in Moree by Brindabella.

The airline intended to use a two-month period leading up to Transport for NSW’s granting of a five-year licence to build its case for exclusive rights to the route.

But those plans were dashed when QantasLink was announced as the provider of relief flights until an airline could be appointed.

“Moree council indicated that they did not require any assistance from Rex for interim services,” a Rex spokesperson told The Leader yesterday.

Rex chief operating officer Garry Filmer said the airline was still interested in Moree, but was waiting on Moree Plains Shire Council to show its support.

“They really have to want us for us to go there. The ball is back in their court,’’ he said. 

On Monday, Rex opened up its own EOI process and called on regional centres to submit applications directly to the company.

But the airline has stipulated that “only cities that can sustain above 30,000 annual passengers will be considered”, appearing to rule out Moree, which had just 27,000 passengers last financial year.

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