SMALLER airlines have been encouraged to take a serious look at a Tamworth-to-Melbourne route by Tamworth mayor Col Murray
QantasLink recently announced next year it would open up a Tamworth-Brisbane route and Cr Murray hopes it's only a small hop, skip and a jump to more airport options.
"I'd love to see a flight to Melbourne and I think they must be getting close to some justification for Canberra," Cr Murray said.
"Traditionally, what happens in the marketplace is smaller carriers establish those routes and they build it up to a point where larger carriers with larger planes seem to take over.
"That's the way air travel appears to evolve."
Cr Murray said council was open to talking to any airlines interested in providing a service to Melbourne.
"There has been a lot of discussion about it over the years, surely we must be getting somewhere close to the point where that would becomes financially sustainable," he said.
"You would sometimes wonder if there could be justification for a drop-off at Canberra on the way to Melbourne.
"We have had those discussions in the past and we will continue to have them."
QantasLink's service to Brisbane will start in March next year, with six weekly flights.
More than 23,000 seats will be available for holidaymakers and business travellers on the Q400 turboprop aircraft travelling to the Queensland capital.
Fly Corporate already offers a number of flights each week from Tamworth to Brisbane.