QANTAS has swooped in to offer stricken Narrabri passengers heavily discounted tickets following the sudden collapse of Vincent Aviation yesterday.
Customers in Narrabri holding a valid Vincent Aviation ticket can now purchase relief airfares to fly to Sydney from either Tamworth ($82) or Moree ($96).
QantasLink chief executive officer John Gissing said the airline would do all it could to assist passengers impacted by Vincent Aviation's decision to cease flying.
"It's regrettable that another regional airline has gone into receivership, however, as the national carrier we will help the community where we can," he said.
"Effective immediately, discounted relief airfares will be offered to customers who hold a valid Vincent Aviation ticket between Narrabri and Sydney.
"We understand how important access to air transport is to regional Australia, especially for medical and business purposes."
Qantas also offered discounted relief fares in December last year when Brindabella Airlines went into receivership.
EARLIER: NARRABRI has again lost its air link to the state’s capital after the shock announcement that Vincent Aviation had fallen into receivership.
The Darwin-based airline was only granted a four-year licence to operate the Narrabri-Sydney service in March following the collapse of Brindabella.
Andrew Fielding and Gerald Collins of accountancy firm BDO were appointed receivers and managers of the company, which employs about 80 staff.
Mr Fielding said a “range of factors” were behind the airline’s financial woes, but “particularly market conditions had contributed to the current situation”.
“The prudent step was taken by the company’s management to cease trading to enhance the recoveries to all creditors,” he said.
“The company has cancelled all flights and customers should make alternative travel arrangements.”
Transport for NSW, which appointed the airline to the government-regulated route, said late yesterday it had not been informed of “any changes to this service”.
An industry insider told The Leader that “everyone knew this was coming, including the Civil Aviation Safety Authority and Transport for NSW”.
“If Brindabella couldn’t make Narrabri work with 19-seat aircraft, then how could Vincent make it work with 34-seaters?” he said.
“The government’s job is to do due diligence (before awarding licences on exclusive routes), but they obviously haven’t.”