MAKING GROUND: Dubbo City Regional Airport has broken through the 200,000 annual passenger mark with some help from the wider western region. Photo: FILE PHOTO
WHILE Orange City Councillors and the city’s sole commercial flight operator trade barbs about the services out of Orange Airport, Dubbo is fast establishing itself as the region’s airborne transport hub.
Dubbo City Regional Airportis becoming thedeparture point of choice for a growing number of Central West travellers heading to the coast or interstate, its council says.
The past 12 months has seen the number of destinations that can be accessed from Dubbo expand to dwarfthe single Sydney route offered to Orange passengers.
Airline Jetgo began direct Dubbo-Brisbane return flights in July last year and added a Dubbo-Melbourne route in October.
On Monday the first flight of FlyPelican’s Dubbo-Newcastle service landed.
Rex –the only airline to operate out of Orange Airport –also offers flights out of Dubboto both Cobar and Broken Hill.
Both QantasLink and Rex fly return legs betweenSydney and Dubbo each day, taking the total number of airports accesible from Dubbo to six.
Airport operations manager Lindsay Mason said there were people choosing to board at Dubbo because they could fly directly to other statesrather than from their local airports.
One man from West Wyalong had driven to Dubbo to catch a direct flight to Brisbane.
“He said he preferred to come to Dubbo, as he had to drive to Wagga to wait and catch a flight to Sydney, and then wait in Sydney for the flight to Brisbane,” he said.
“He told me he just preferred to drive to Dubbo and fly direct.”
Two businessmen from Bathurst were also changing their travel habits.
“(They would) normally drive to Sydney once a fortnight to catch a flight to Brisbane, but now prefer to drive to Dubbo,” he said.
“They think it’s a no-brainer.”
Dubbo City Regional Airport set a record for passenger numbers in the past 12 months.
In the past month Orange City Councillor Reg Kidd has slammed Rex with claims the carrier left passengers to maketheir own way to Orange when icy conditions forced a flight to land in Bathurst on June 27.
The airline responded by labelling the councillor’s comments “careless” and attributing flight cancellations and other issues to “extremely problematic” facilities at Orange Airport.
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