Make sure second airline takes off

WHEN Brindabella Airlines announced in December it would begin an Orange to Sydney service, mayor John Davis said it would be up to the community to “use it or lose it”.

It may be a cliche, but the mayor may have been on the money when it comes to ensuring the second air service is retained.

Yesterday Brindabella only managed to fill a third of the 30-seater plane on the first flight out of Orange.

While it is only early days for the airline’s Orange service, and passenger numbers will no doubt increase, everyone should be hoping patronage picks up.

Orange City Council’s decision to embark on the multimillion airport upgrade is testament to the increase of passenger numbers at the airport up to 63,894 in 2011/2012 from 59,794 the year before.

While the upgraded facilities, including the replacement of the 1960’s-era terminal building, is a vote of confidence in air travel to and from Orange, having a second airline is an important part of the mix.

Not only will the three new timeslots give passengers more flexibility when it comes to choosing to fly when it suits them, the extra competition will also force both airlines to think of their customers first by keeping fares affordable and ensuring reliability and consistency are priorities.

For people who do not travel via air regularly, it can be easy to dismiss the importance of having the option of a second airline.

But, even if they never set foot on a Brindabella or Rex plane, Orange residents are likely to benefit - even if it is in a small way.

Everyone knows the mine plays a huge part in our economy and the importance of offering workers suitable air travel is just one thing that helps ensure its success.

But Orange’s reputation as a health-hub for the region also relies on an influx of doctors and medical staff from out of town. Making it even easier for people to come from Sydney to Orange has to be a good thing for everyone.

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