VIRGIN Australia has announced it will significantly cut its services from Sydney to Tamworth.
In a statement on Wednesday, the carrier said it would reduce its Sydney-Tamworth service from twice daily to six services per week.
It comes amid a raft of fleet and network changes announced by Virgin on Wednesday.
Tamworth Mayor Col Murray said today's announcement from Virgin Australia to reduce its Tamworth services is "another indication of the tough economic times we are facing."
"Virgin has always indicated it is targeting the business market with its flights to and from Tamworth and today's announcement makes it obvious the interest is not there," he said.
"It is the sort of decision we don't want to hear but it is an indication of the tough economic times we are facing.
"We known the drought is having wide ranging effects on the economy and the aviation industry is also facing a tough business climate."
Tamworth's loss appears to be Port Macquarie's gain with the coastal town gaining four additional services in the regional schedule change-up.
Virgin Australia Group chief Paul Scurrah said today's changes highlight the airlines's focus on "disciplined capacity management and putting the right product on the right route".
"We maintain a strong network of destinations and it's important that our schedule continues to reflect demand from our business and leisure customers," Mr Scurrah said.
"Some of today's changes respond to shifting demand on some routes, and others are about re-focussing Virgin Australia and Tigerair Australia on the destinations we feel they are best suited."
Flight school not impacted by Virgin decision
Cr Murray said despite the reduction of Virgin flights local travellers are fortunate they will continue to have options provided by two other carriers.
Cr Murray confirmed today's announcement by Virgin Australia will have no impact on the plan to open a pilot training school at Tamworth Regional Airport.
"Following the announcement of the Foreign Investment Review Board approval last month, the planning continues to move forward as scheduled," he said.
The Tamworth mayor Col Murray will address the changes at 1pm today.
More to come.