Hopes for regular flights grounded

THE PROSPECT of a direct airline service between the Fraser Coast and Melbourne has faded, Anne Nioa has conceded.

However, the chair of the Fraser Coast council’s tourism portfolio refuses to take her eye off the airline radar and has focused on the bird in the hand rather than the one in the clouds.

“It’s not as simple as pulling Tiger airlines in or offering a great deal to someone else,” Ms Nioa said.

“Jetstar pulled out because the route was not commercially viable so no one’s going to jump up and say ‘Here’s an opening’.

“We’re better off on an interstate basis to really support one airline and make it worthwhile so then they will provide us with extra air routes when the time is right.”

Ms Nioa described how she had prioritised direct flights from Victoria to Hervey Bay on her election to the council 18 months ago and included the plan in a top five list she handed to Mayor Mick Kruger.

“I wasn’t anticipating a global financial crisis, nor was I anticipating the pull-out of Jetstar.

“We worked very hard to maintain our relationship with Virgin and that’s an ongoing thing. I will continue to do that and any opportunities that do come up we will grasp with both hands.”

Ms Nioa also took the opportunity to remind tourism stakeholders in the region that about 80 per cent of the tourists coming to the region were from the drive market.



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