Virgin to canvass Narrabri service

REPRESENTATIVES from Virgin Australia will meet with Narrabri Shire Council next week to canvass the possibility of establishing a commercial service to Sydney.

The nation’s second largest airline will meet with the council, in addition to other stakeholders, to help it compile a business case for the vacant route.

The company, through its regional arm Virgin Australia Regional Airlines, already has a significant presence in town, operating charter flights for the mining industry.

Narrabri has been without flights to the state’s capital since Vincent Aviation collapsed in May, just months after it replaced the failed Brindabella Airlines on the route.

Narrabri mayor Conrad Bolton has made no secret of his desire to attract one of the aviation industry’s two major players – Virgin or Qantas – to the town.

“(Virgin) are keen, they’re very keen,” he told The Leader yesterday. “But they’ve got to make it work for themselves as well.

“They’re just getting as much information as they can into the business case just to see if it all stacks up.”

Cr Bolton said the council was confident it could show Virgin there existed sufficient demand to sustain Sydney-Narrabri or Sydney-Narrabri-Brisbane flights.

“The Narrabri shire has the capacity to support one of the large players and Virgin has shown distinct interest,” he said.

“We’ve given them a lot of information already, but there’s nothing better than face-to-face meetings to get a more intimate knowledge on the community’s requirements,” he said.

Narrabri Chamber of Commerce wrote to Virgin following the shock demise of Darwin-based Vincent Aviation to gauge its interest in the route.

The chamber’s president, Russell Stewart, said he was delighted a company of Virgin’s “calibre” was considering the route so carefully.

“We will be meeting with Virgin next week to further discuss what their requirements are and what our community’s requirements are,” he said.