KOOTINGAL resident Ann Matthews knows what the loss of the Tamworth to Brisbane flight service has meant to her: hours in a bus up and down the New England Highway.
She’s one of the people a survey on local regional air services is targeting in a bid to identify just what the city needs and wants when it comes to its airport.
Mrs Matthews’ son and his family live in Brisbane and until Brindabella ceased operations last year she would fly up to see them several times a year.
Now she visits by coach, which takes a lot more time, although Mrs Matt- hews concedes it works out much cheaper than a return plane flight ever did.
When Brindabella first left Tamworth, she investigated the feasibility of flying to Sydney and then to Brisbane, but found the cost and up to a five-and-a-half hour wait at Sydney airport for a connection made it implausible.
Tamworth badly needed a northern route restored, Mrs Matthews said, because many people relied on it.
“I am just one of many who’s missing it. Whenever I travelled (to Brisbane) the plane was always full,” she said.
Now that Armidale has competition on its Sydney route though, and is interested in pursuing a Brisbane carrier, she wouldn’t rule out travelling up the highway for a flight if the price was right. Mrs Matthews says competition on Tamworth’s Sydney route should be a priority as well in an effort to secure lower priced airfares. The cost to fly anywhere from Tamworth, she said, depending on when you were booking was “ridiculous”, something she hoped the air survey would highlight.
The survey is an initiative of the Tamworth Business Chamber and Tamworth Regional Council in partnership with The Leader, and is seeking at least 5000 respondents in an effort to obtain a broad cross-section of opinions.
It takes about five minutes to complete and is available at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/Tamworth_Regional_Airservices_Survey