Celebrating the news that QantasLink will continue serving Moree for the next two years last night, Moree Chamber of Commerce board member Phoebe Watts, left, Moree Plains Shire Mayor Katrina Humphries, Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall, Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Paul Toole, General Manager Lester Rogers and Economic development Manager Mark Connolly, with QantasLink staff.
Thursday, 16 July 2020
In a major boost for businesses and tourism operators in the Moree district, Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall has today announced QantasLink will continue to exclusively service the Sydney to Moree air route for another two years.
Mr Marshall was joined by Minister for Regional Transport Paul Toole and Moree Plains Shire Mayor Katrina Humphries to make the important announcement after the State Government agreed to a request on behalf of the community to extend the air carrier’s licence until March 2022.
Mr Marshall said the Sydney to Moree route would continue to remain regulated, supporting the region’s access to medical services, economic development and tourism opportunities.
“This announcement gives the Moree community continued certainty and security about its direct air link to Sydney, which is absolutely vital for the local economy,” Mr Marshall said.
“In a very uncertain time at the moment, this news will come as a huge relief and boost of confidence to the Moree district, which has been hit hard by drought and now the COVID-19 disruption.
“Moree Plains Shire Council and the local community have made it clear they love their air service and the current carrier and today cements that relationship and ensures it continues.
“Mayor Katrina Humphries has been a fierce advocate for the retention of the current service and I’m delighted that the Minister listened to the community and extended the current contract.”
Mr Marshall said the licence and operation of the route would remain the same as it has been for the past two years.
“It was crucial there was no disruption for the community or QantasLink on this route and it’s been great to see flights come back to Moree after a short hiatus due to COVID-19,” Mr Marshall said.
“At the end of the two-year extension, Transport for NSW is obligated under current legislation to consult with the community and council again and conduct an open licensing process but I see no reason why the Flying Kangaroo won’t continue in the skies above Moree for many years to come.”
Mr Toole said Moree Plains Shire was an agricultural centre for NSW and the continued availability of an air service to Sydney was critical for locals and business.
“We know this air service really matters to the community. Adam and Moree Plains Shire Council have been working hard to ensure it continues and I’m glad we’ve been able to reach a decision that continues to benefit people living in the bush,” Mr Toole said.
“QantasLink will continue to make decisions on the timetable, frequency of services and the aircraft which will be used over the remaining years of the contract.”
QantasLink CEO John Gissing said as the national carrier, they understood the importance of reliable air travel for regional communities.
“We’re pleased to be continuing our long-standing flights from Sydney to Moree, in partnership with the NSW Government,” Mr Gissing said.
“These services will ensure Moree continues to be just a short flight away from Australia’s largest city, providing key connectivity for tourists, businesses and visitors.”
Moree Plains Shire Council Katrina Humphries said the announcement was welcome news for the entire community.
“Earlier this year, the return of regular flights into Moree was a major life line to our rural economy and tourism sector,” Cr Humphries said.
“Our farmers, local businesses, pubs, motel operators and everybody in between has been feeling the stress from the ongoing drought which has been strangling our community for the past few years.
“The second blow of COVID-19, restricted operations of many businesses and even forced many to close their doors for a period of time.
“On behalf of the Moree and District community I thank Transport NSW for this licence extension.
“Our relationship with Qantas has always been rock solid, we appreciate having an air service in these difficult times and look forward to continuing this relationship.”