A SPATE of flight cancellations at Tamworth Regional Airport in the past fortnight has prompted the council to lobby state and federal ministers to rectify the problems.
Councillor Juanita Wilson said the regular cancellations were bringing down Tamworth’s reputation as a destination, but mayor Col Murray thought it reflected more on the carriers.
Three flights to Tamworth were cancelled last week due to technical issues and high winds, and a further four were cancelled this week, two of them on Friday.
“It’s certainly disappointing, but I do understand there are underlying issues, I’ve spoken with fellow mayors in the region and it’s not just happening to Tamworth,” Cr Murray said.
The mayor said council was preparing to lobby state and federal ministers about the flight dramas.
“It is a serious issue, we’ve spoken with Kevin Anderson and we know he is meeting with Barnaby Joyce and transport minister Darren Chester,” he said. “Council will be lobbying to find some answers.”
The push came just days after Cr Wilson raised the problems surrounding cancellations at Tuesday’s council meeting. She said the delays were making Tamworth seem like an “unreliable destination”.
Cr Murray proposed putting the issue to the state’s Evocities partners to see if similar issues are happening across regional NSW.
Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson said he has no problem with the cancellations if they were being caused by engineering issues and stressed the importance of a regular air service to the city.
“One thing I like to do when I fly, is fly in a aircraft that I know is serviceable,” Mr Anderson said.
“If there is another reason, then I would like the aircraft company to let us know why that reason is.
QantasLink are telling us there are some engineering problems and it just happens to be that way over the last six to eight weeks, which I understand is annoying.”
Mr Anderson had two separate state ministers’ trips to Tamworth cancelled or delayed by the flight dramas in the last two weeks.
“Once you cancel a flight, the flow on effect and the consequence can be quite significant,” he said. “[QantasLink] love this region and know how important Tamworth is and we know how important they are to us.”