QANTAS has slashed its regional services from Tamworth to Sydney and dropped the launch of a new service to Brisbane.
It was matter of time until covid-19 started to have serious effects on the council's businesses, Tamworth Regional Council mayor Col Murray said.
"We have concerns it's going to affect almost every business in our regional economy, airlines are just joining the queue," he said.
"There's all sorts of implications here, we won't be sending larger planes so I don't know what that means for security, we are working through those issues now.
"We talk about uncharted waters, boy are we in the midst of uncharted waters, with tidal waves coming at us."
Both large and small regional airlines have struggled amid the panic of the coronavirus crisis as the federal government warns against international travel.
Cr Murray said the council won't be immune from the fallout.
"All of our activities will be impacted to some extent, we've seen virtual shutdowns of places like AELEC and TRECC and now the airport will be seriously impacted.
"I think this will be the best opportunity we will ever have to support local business ... support our hospitality venues and keep those casual jobs alive."
QANTAS has taken a knife to its regional flight services from Tamworth.
Return flights from Sydney have been drastically slashed from 29 to 12 each week, and the hyped new Brisbane to Tamworth service cut altogether.
The aviation giant claims the coronavirus [covid-19] crisis has seen a huge drop in air travel, triggered by the public health response.
The cuts are another huge blow for business, but don't come as a surprise, Tamworth Business Chamber president Jye Segboer said.
"I certainly think it's going to be a long journey coming back, some companies will use this as an opportunity to not return services," he said.
"I hope large organisations like Qantas and Virgin know these services need to return to the regions to ensure stability and growth."
The reduced flights will come into effect in the next two months.
Today, Qantas announced it and Jetstar would stand down the majority of its 30,000 employees until at least the end of May 2020.
In Tamworth, ground crew are managed by an external contractor to Qantas, but Mr Segboer said he would not be surprised if the job cuts affect families locally.
"I'm certainly sure there will be job losses there," he said.
"That ground operator will have to make drastic decisions for their workforce, but my concern is for the local economy and local families who suffer.
"Right now the Government needs to give a guarantee to business, the federal initiatives are welcome but I don't think it's enough - frontline workers and the tourism sector will be hit the hardest and that needs to be addressed immediately."
Earlier in the week Qantas announced cuts to 90 per cent of international flights and 60 per cent of domestic flights.
Armidale will also have 12 flights to Sydney each week and Moree just six.
More than 150 aircraft will be temporarily grounded and the airline is in discussions with airports and government about where to park the aircraft.