POLL: Cloud hangs over airline’s future

TROUBLED carrier, Brindabella Airlines has entered into an arrangement with Orange City Council to pay off overdue bills, but representatives for the airline still won’t say if it will definitely re-start its Sydney to Orange service.

Brindabella, and fellow passenger airline Regional Express (REX), pay council $15.95 for every passenger flying in and out of Orange.

Aerodrome Committee chair councillor Chris Gryllis said Brindabella had a “few thousand dollars” outstanding.

“The small volume of passengers indicate it won’t be an enormous amount,” he said.

Cr Gryllis hopes Brindabella makes the  commercial decision to restart the service, but said if Orange loses the second airline another operator could be attracted to the area when the airport is expanded.

“I’ve asked for the executives of Brindabella to address [the Aerodrome Committee] to ask them if they have any intention of coming back to Orange,” he said.

“My advice if they do come back is to be more sure of themselves and organised when they provide the service.”

Cr Gryllis said it was rare for an airport with less than 100,000 passengers each year to be able to sustain two airlines.

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“[Airlines] are not there to provide a service, they’re there to make money for themselves,” he said.

“They can’t continue to provide flights below cost.

“[Brindabella] did not have a good record, there were lots of cancellations so that obviously doesn’t help.”

But Brindabella’s commercial manager James Blake said it was obvious there was an opportunity for another airline to service Orange and suggested Rex had raised its fare prices since Brindabella had suspended its service.

“This can be seen through the fares that the existing carrier has on this route, particularly since the temporary route suspension was announced,” he said.

“During Brindabella’s period of operating services to Orange one of the main pieces of positive feedback received from customers was of affordability and connectivity the airline offers.”

But he fell short of confirming the airline’s definite return to Orange, saying that Brindabella would review the Orange/Sydney service over the coming months.

Although the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) is yet to clear two of the airline’s aircraft for use, the Orange route is the only service that has been suspended.

Mr Blake said Brindabella representatives would meet with council, but would not confirm if money was outstanding, saying “commercial arrangements” were between the airline and the supplier.

BRINDABELLA'S FLIGHT OF FANCY

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