A FLIGHT ROUTE connecting the country music capital to the harbour city is set to take off on a journey that could see prices nosedive and tourism soar.
More than one airline not only grows the passenger market, but competition between airlines also makes prices fall, Tamworth Regional Council commercial director of aviation and projects John Sommerlad said.
"First of all, it provides the travelling public with choice," he said.
"The second thing is competition generally drives down price so it becomes cheaper to fly.
"And it also drives up passenger numbers, which means we would expect more people coming to and from Tamworth because we're well serviced by two successful airlines."
Prices for the Link Airways route taking its first trip on Monday are about $100 less than what's currently offered by Qantaslink, the only other provider that flies the trip.
Virgin Australia offered flights to Sydney and back but the airline pulled out of its regional routes after hitting financial turbulence in 2020.
Link Airways was keen to establish itself as the second carrier to Sydney when it became evident the aviation industry would recover from the pandemic.
"It's all positive for Tamworth, when we have more planes coming and going and more people coming and going through airline services," Mr Sommerlad said.
"That's a good outcome for any regional city."
The route is a natural progression for Link Airways, its manager of network strategy and development Jeff Boyd told the Leader.
The airline has carved out a successful Brisbane route to and from the regional city.
"We just know that Sydney is the key destination for people from Tamworth," he said.
"And we thought that they probably needed some extra services, a few more seats on the route, another airline to operate it."
It's something he's been looking at for a long time.
"It would have been pointless to start any earlier, but we think it's a good time to start now," he said.
"Now the market's coming back, people are moving around the countryside."
Link Airways is here for the long haul.
He said "it is what it is" when it comes to trying to keep costs competitive, when forking out to operate regional aircrafts.
"The smaller the aircraft the more it costs per seat to operate it," he said.
"You've still got two pilots in the front, whether you've got 200 people behind you or 34 people behind you."
For now, Link Airways doesn't have plans to add anything more frequent than a flight in and out each morning and evening.
"If things go well, as we hope they do, then we'll look to put additional services in in the middle of the day," he said.
Until then, he said people have become comfortable with how things operate during the pandemic.
"Travel needs and travel trends have probably changed forever, to an extent, post COVID," he said.
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