BRINDABELLA Airlines has played down suggestions the viability of its Orange service could be in jeopardy unless passenger numbers double.
The airline's first flight out of Orange took off shortly after 10:20 am yesterday, but despite the hype around the new service only 10 passengers boarded the 30-seater plane.
When the airline announced the route in December, mayor John Davis said Orange would risk losing the second service unless passenger numbers in and out of Orange climbed to 100,000 each year.
Figures for 2011/2012 show 63,894 passengers used the Orange airport and Brindabella's chief executive officer Ian Vanderbeek believes that is plenty.
"Newcastle only has 30,000 passengers a year with two airlines so with 60,000 [in Orange] there is more than enough room for two airlines," he said.
Despite yesterday's first flight being only one-third full, Mr Vanderbeek said he expected bookings to increase during the service's first week.
Read the full story in tomorrow’s Central Western Daily.