Cr SmithDubbo mayor Allan Smith and the city’s peak business group agree that Dubbo may gain altitude from a proposed Cobar-Sydney air route, despite it not touching down in the city.
Nanjing Night Net

Councillor Smith welcomed news this week that Brindabella Airlines is awaiting a licence to operate daily Sydney-Cobar return flights on weekdays.

He expects the arrangements to have flow-on benefits for Dubbo.

Brindabella chief executive officer Jeff Boyd said the privately-owned company was able to progress a Sydney-Cobar service because it had secured a financial agreement with Cobar Shire Council and western mining companies.

Cobar council and the mining companies will underwrite Brindabella’s costs for its first three months of operation and the airline boss paid credit to Dubbo City Development Corporation’s Rorque Poisson for his assistance.

Cr Smith admitted that he would prefer to see a hub-and-spoke model, where Dubbo’s airport was the hub, but he did not dismiss alternatives.

“Any improvements to transport links in the region are positive,” he said.

“Our city can only survive and grow if we have a strong region, which Cobar forms a vital part of.”

Cr Smith pointed to Dubbo’s service role in the region.

Dubbo had a population of 40,000 but could service 120,000 and Cobar was part of that, he said.

The frequency of flights would still leave gaps when Cobar district residents would travel to Dubbo, he said.

The deal would strengthen mining at Cobar, an industry that was serviced from Dubbo, he said.

The mayor found back up from Dubbo Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The chamber could see benefits to more air routes, even if the aircraft flew straight over the city, chamber spokeswoman Donna Ambler said.

“Yes it would be preferable to have flights stopping at Dubbo but any initiative that brings more flights to the region and encourages airlines to think about other routes is good,” she said.

“We’re hoping this might be an opportunity for airlines to see what else they can do in the region, including Dubbo.”

Ms Ambler agreed that it was possible Dubbo could lose economic activity, but she, like Mr Poisson could also see a “bigger picture” of additional flights for the region, including Dubbo.

“We’re also mindful that it’s important we collaborate and support other towns, rather than advocate only one option,” she said.

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