FLIGHTS in and out of Tamworth in recent weeks have been turbulent – and that’s without them even taking flight.
A string of cancelled flights at Tamworth Regional Airport has left a dark cloud looming over the city as leaders fear it is fast becoming an unreliable destination.
Furious and frustrated residents have directed concerns to council leaders after three Sydney to Tamworth flights on Wednesday and Thursday were cancelled or delayed due to various reasons.
Among those inconvenienced was a woman who travelled from overseas for a school reunion only to be slugged with a seven-hour wait at Sydney airport because her Tamworth flight was cancelled.
A large agriculture training conference in Tamworth was also thrown into chaos when one of the presenter’s flights was also delayed.
Tamworth councillor, Juanita Wilson, makes the valid point that a steady stream of cancellations and delays is simply a bad look.
Tamworth is a city that relies on regular connections to our metropolitan counterparts. How can our economy continue to grow if business commuters can’t get in and out of Tamworth or if would-be tourists are turned off by unreliable schedules.
With less than 100 days until Tamworth Country Music Festival, when the city’s population usually triples, we should hope the pattern of cancelled flights is not ongoing.
Cr Wilson said there is “some disquiet that flights are being cancelled with greater frequency than previously”.
She has taken the matter up with council's business and community director to seek assurances that the spate of cancellations is “just a spot in time and not an emerging pattern”.
People deserve to feel confident that when they book a flight, it will get them there. But it seems the cloud may be clearing as Tamworth’s fourth airline moves in.
Fly Corporate will launch its Tamworth-Brisbane route at the end of the month, in response to community calls for a more reliable service.
In Tamworth on Thursday, Fly Corporate sales manager Geoff Woodham said the airline would have several flights to the Queensland capital every week.
Cr Wilson is right when she says Tamworth is a popular destination with great facilities. We need reliable transport to ensure it stays that way.