QANTAS flights from Tamworth to Sydney are in jeopardy as the airline mulls the future of the route in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Qantas has announced it will stop flights to and from Armidale from Friday until May 31, but can't say if Tamworth's will still operate as it takes a battering.
Social distancing and non-essential travel measures have caused record low numbers of passengers on the route, but on Tuesday Qantas was unable to provide a statement to the Leader.
However, the Leader understands understands Qantas is working through what further reductions would look like for the region.
Armidale mayor Simon Murray called on the state and federal governments to ensure a passenger service remains in the region long-term.
"While we fully understand and respect the tough decisions these carriers must make to protect the future viability of their businesses, it is vital this region is not left without a regular service," Cr Murray said.
"The Armidale to Sydney connection, serviced by Qantas, is a critical transport link for the wider region, used by communities and businesses from Tenterfield, Inverell, Glen Innes, Uralla and Walcha.
"It is vital for the economic success of the Northern Tablelands this service be retained."
Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall said while the decision was "a bitter blow", work was being done to ensure there was a passenger service for the region.
"Last night [Monday], I spoke with Qantas senior management urging them to continue a minimum daily service to Armidale, for essential travel, including medical specialists and staff - who are almost the only people still flying at the moment," Mr Marshall said.
"Given the current adverse conditions, I told Qantas management that the service did not have to be direct to Sydney, but it would be acceptable to triangulate with Tamworth or Coffs Harbour, or a combination of the two.
"I was pleased that Qantas agreed and advised it was working on a minimum viable service model for its QantasLink network, which includes Armidale."
When asked if he was worried about Qantas potentially stopping services to Tamworth, Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson said he was "constantly on alert" to the changing economic climate.
"Each area is unique, and we are focused on what is happening here and in the broader community," Mr Anderson said.
"We are keeping abreast of situations as they arise to make sure we do the right things by our community and our businesses are supported."