AS the Tamworth community mourned the lose of one of its airlines, it took small comfort in knowing the city’s Brisbane connection would live on.
Tamworth Business Chamber president Jye Segboer said Jetgo flagged a possible exit with him about two months ago when Fly Corporate increased its flights and plane size along the Brisbane route.
“Jetgo said it was struggling to maintain its market share,” Mr Segboer said.
“We expressed to them that the time of day they fly was not conducive to corporate travellers, but that came down to Jetgo’s internal scheduling.
“It is a smaller route than the Sydney one, so it was always going to be a very competitive market for any business to hold its share, particularly when your competitor is offering two flights a day to your one.”
Mr Segboer said it was unfortunate to see the airline go, but noted that while the competition was leaving, the service was not.
“It will be interesting to see where the price goes to from here, hopefully it isn’t pushed up,” he said.
Fly Corporate spokesman Geoff Woodham couldn’t give an “iron clad guarantee” ticket prices would remain the same now that it had a monopoly on the Tamworth-Brisbane route, as “market conditions may change”.
However, he said there were no plans to increase prices any time soon.
“It’s status quo as we go,” Mr Woodham said.
He also rejected the idea that Fly Corporate squeezed its rival out of the market.
“We’ve never pushed anyone out of the market, organisations make decisions for themselves based on market trends,” he said.
“We focus on supplying a good quality service at reasonable prices, and we’ll continue to do that. We’ll keep monitoring that route and if the demand is there, of course we’ll make a move to fill that hole.”
Tamworth acting mayor Helen Tickle said it was unfortunate Jetgo had decided to cease its Tamworth service, but was confident the Brisbane route would continue to grow.
“Fly Corporate has indicated it will introduce bigger aircraft to meet projected demand on the route,” she said.
“Passengers from Tamworth also have the option of flying to Brisbane via Sydney using either Qantas or Virgin services.” Councillor Juanita Wilson paid tribute to Jetgo for paving the way on the Brisbane route, “when there was an obvious need for it”.