Jetstar pulls flights out of Bay

COUNCILLOR Anne Nioa has responded rapidly to the news yesterday that Jetstar was pulling its air services to Sydney out of Hervey Bay.

She believes Virgin Airlines will be interested in increasing flights or the size of its planes to pick up some of the 56,000 passenger seats provided by Jetstar every year.

Virgin has direct and return flights from Sydney to Hervey Bay seven days a week.

Jetstar makes the return flight four days a week.

“Jetstar made it clear today that the reason for withdrawing their services was based on commercial facts only. They had no problem with the council, the destination or anything else.”

Ms Nioa, who holds the tourism and marketing portfolio on the council, said last night that the decision had come out of the blue but negotiations had already begun to see what other airlines could take up the extra passenger demand.

Mayor Mick Kruger, CEO Andrew Brien, Ms Nioa and the Fraser Coast South Burnett Regional Tourism Board were working quickly to come up with the best outcome for the Fraser Coast after Jetstar services finish on July 30.

Ms Nioa said the fly market was a developing but not yet crucial part of tourism on the Fraser Coast. The region was classed as an emerging destination for the jet tourist but it was still overwhelmingly a drive market.

With the world financial downturn, people were staying closer to home and looking for good value or cheap alternatives, she said.

“The Fraser Coast is still terrific value for money in Australian tourism and I think the drive market could be solid this year.

“We will certainly be targeting that and I don't think we will be hit too hard by the taking away of the fuel subsidy.

“Fuel prices are still a lot cheaper than they were before the recession and they should stay that way until global demand picks up again.”

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