Direct flights between Newcastle and Orange may be closer than you think.
At the upcoming Orange City Council meeting on November 21, more than a dozen letters supporting a proposal for air travel between the two cities will be presented.
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Councillor Jack Evans will move a motion the council "work actively" with airlines and the regional community to establish additional air routes between Orange and other regional centres.
"For the last two years I have been working actively as president of Business Orange and then board member, along with other stakeholders to encourage the introduction of a direct flight route between Orange and Newcastle," a letter prepared by Jack Evans for the council meeting read.
The letter added that on April 7, the councillor facilitated a meeting between several airlines and stakeholders including Orange City Council.
"While there where different views about possible destinations, the consensus was that the region would benefit from connection to other regional destinations outside of Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne," he added.
Those in support included, but were not limited to, Andrew Gee and Phil Donato, Port Stephens Council as well as various Orange wineries and businesses.
Mr Evans noted a few of the the reasons for the Newcastle focus. These were:
- Poor connection between the Central West and the Hunter regions by road. .
- Newcastle has just become an International Terminal, allowing for better connection for Orange to the Global Market. .
- The links between industries in the Central West and Hunter such as Health, Wineries, Education and Tourism.
In February, Mr Evans along with Matt Borger from Newcastle Airport facilitated a meeting with Eastern Air Services to discuss their interest in the route.
"The directors of the airline requested additional information such as anticipated passenger numbers, preferred days and times for flights," Mr Evans' letter read.
"The chamber in its volunteer capacity is unable to provide such data. Hence this motion for council to continue the work begun by Business Orange.
"With recent interest from Bathurst Council to explore Orange Airport's use as a regional Hub, now is the best opportunity to put more focus on this project. At the same time a shuttle bus servicing Orange Airport is work exploring."
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In total, 23 letter of support for a direct flight between Orange and Newcastle were gathered.
A staff comment noted that council had already begun conversations with airlines on a shuttle bus service with airlines showing a "real interest."
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