Council backs Qantaslink decision

BUNDABERG Regional Council believes a Qantaslink decision to cut flights from Bundaberg will not harm its chances of attracting a second carrier to the area.

Qantaslink will suspend its early morning flight from Bundaberg to Brisbane from Christmas Eve until the end of January, an airline spokesman confirmed yesterday.

Council CEO Peter Byrne said while the suspension had been the practice for many years, he supported retaining the early morning flight from the community’s perspective.

“Qantas obviously looks at it from a business point of view,” he said.

Mr Byrne said the council was still talking to other airlines across Australia in a bid to attract a second carrier to operate in and out of the Bundaberg airport.

“Across Australia there has been little movement into regional areas by the airlines,” he said.

“It’s a very volatile industry, but if an opportunity comes up we’re well-positioned to take advantage of it.”

In a letter to the NewsMail this week, Sandra Riemer complained the suspension of the 6.45am flight was an inconvenience to travellers.

“This early flight is always the busiest of the day due to people heading down for a day of shopping, medical appointments with hospitals and specialist doctors, and to meet connecting flights,” she said.

“It is also the only one that connects with onward flights to Darwin.”

She said due to the cancellation it was impossible to meet any flights north without a drive through the night from Bundaberg to get to Brisbane by 6am, or travel via Cairns or Sydney which can take upwards of 10 hours.

A QantasLink spokesman said the suspension was part of the airline’s normal schedule rationalisation over the Christmas and New Year period.

“This is because of the usual reduction in demand for travel from the government and business sectors during late December and January,” he said.

“It is standard practice at this time of year.

“Bundaberg is an important destination for QantasLink.

“We will still be operating a high frequency of services during the December-January period.”

The council has recently completed a multi-million dollar upgrade of the airport and appointed consultants Aspirion to work to attract a second airline.

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