*Scroll down to see a message from QANTAS to Moree.
QANTAS has confirmed it has formally applied to operate on the Moree-Sydney service under the NSW government's regulated licensing system.
QantasLink chief executive officer John Gissing made the announcement at a special breakfast in Moree this morning.
"I'm delighted to announce that we have submitted a competitive tender to operate on the Moree-Sydney route," he said.
"The community support for Qantas over the past couple of months has been truly overwhelming.
"While our decision to apply on the route was a commercial one, the community's efforts have not gone unnoticed.
"As the national carrier and the country's largest regional airline, we understand the importance of reliable air travel for regional communities, like Moree.
"QantasLink proudly served the Moree community for 21 years up until March last year and we know a lot of people were delighted when we returned temporarily a couple of months ago."
QANTASLINK is expected to end weeks of speculation today by announcing it has tendered for an exclusive four-year licence to service Moree.
Senior executives, including QantasLink CEO John Gissing, are flying to Moree for a special breakfast to thank the community for its support.
The visit comes on the last day Transport for NSW will accept tenders for the routes left vacant when Brindabella Airlines folded last December.
QantasLink has only said publicly it is “actively considering” applying for the Moree to Sydney route, which it flew successfully for more than two decades until 2013.
But residents are hoping a high-profile media campaign to woo the airline will convince decision-makers it makes financial sense to return.
The community banded together to create a YouTube video that garnered national attention, and more than 300 people recently held a reception for QantasLink crew at Moree Airport.
Moree Airline Community Group spokesman Josh McGregor said regardless of the outcome, it had been a special few weeks for the town.
“The whole community is unified in feeling really proud of the way we conducted ourselves and really proud of how we came together and worked for this,” he said.
“We are obviously very hopeful that it’s all going to pay off. I think it’s a really good story of a community pulling together and sending a strong message.”
The pressure on QantasLink intensified last week when Regional Express (Rex) made the shock announcement it had lost interest in the route.
Rex’s decision came just weeks after it signalled its intention to offer passengers a thrice-daily return service.
Seemingly smarting from the community’s overwhelming support for QantasLink, the airline told Moree Plains Shire Council it would have to pitch for its services.
But council general manager David Aber declined the invitation, on the grounds it could jeopardise Transport for NSW’s tender process.
He said the carrier had engaged in “silly games” and maintained that “if they were serious” about applying, “they would have put in a bid”.