A QUEENSLAND-based carrier has emerged as the clear favourite to take over the Tamworth to Brisbane route following the collapse of Brindabella Airlines.
Skytrans, operated by a family-owned company with more than 25 years’ experience in the aviation industry, has started discussions with Tamworth Regional Council.
Managing director Simon Wild yesterday told The Leader the company had recently upgraded its fleet and was keen to expand its NSW services.
He said he would be travelling to Tamworth soon to meet with the council in person and discuss what each party wanted out of an arrangement.
“We are interested in doing it, but obviously we need to speak with all the stakeholders first,” he said.
“From experience, the council is obviously concerned that they have a sustainable operator, so really I need to meet with the council.”
Skytrans operates both 36-seat and 50-seat Dash 8 aircraft, similar to those used by QantasLink.
It is based out of Cairns and services some of Australia’s most remote locations, as well as running a Toowoomba to Sydney service.
Mr Wild said the airline had no dreams of taking on Qantas or Virgin, but simply wanted to continue as a “niche” operator serving regional areas.
“We are looking to grow our business and certainly south-east Queensland down into NSW are areas that we will be looking at,” he said.
“We’ve just recently done a transaction that virtually clears our balance sheet, so we have no debt.”
Tamworth mayor Col Murray said Skytrans had a “pretty solid reputation” and the council was very interested in what it had to offer.
“Our due diligence suggests that Skytrans would be a very appropriate carrier, with the types of aircraft they’ve got and the history of the company and the quality of service it has offered previously. That sort of ticks most of the boxes for us and we’re very encouraged to have an ongoing discussion with them,” he said.