THIS time last year Orange was looking forward to a second airline starting at the Orange Airport, but the demise of Brindabella Airlines does not spell the end of having two airlines operate out of Orange, according to mayor John Davis.
While the decision to start up in Orange would remain a “commercial decision”, Cr Davis said he believed the airport would attract another carrier to compete with Regional Express (Rex).
“All the experts will tell you two airlines can’t operate with 60,000 passengers a year,” he said.
“But the idea was to try and bring that number up. A lot of people in the industry believe that number of 60,000 is the low point and there is potential for thousands more to use the airport if it was a bit more affordable.”
Cr Davis said airlines were caught up in a catch-22.
“It’s like the chicken or the egg, do you bring prices down to get the numbers or do you wait until you get the numbers,” he said.
In the meantime the council is pressing on with its multimillion upgrade of the airport.
“It’s going great guns,” Cr Davis said.
“We’ll have a facility that will take bigger planes and will be a more competitive facility capable of expansion.”
The airline ceased its Orange/Sydney service from December 2, but still owes the council $36,908.30 in unpaid passenger fees.
The council is seeking the funds through the airline’s recievers.