Councils cooperate to reinstate flights

FlyPelican executive director Marty Hawley and flight operations manager Emil McCabe with Bourke Shire mayor Barry Holman, Cobar mayor Lilliane Brady and Minister for Western NSW Adam Marshall at the official launch of the new air service yesterday at Cobar Airport.

A large crowd was on hand at Cobar Airport yesterday for the official launch of a new air service for western NSW.

The return of passenger air services to Cobar, Bourke, Walgett and Lightning Ridge has been made possible with $8million of funding from the State Government for the Far North West Joint Organisation (FNWJO) to ensure locals would have access to flights at an affordable rate.

Under the new arrangement, FlyPelican will provide direct services between Cobar and Sydney on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays, as well as a service between Cobar and Dubbo on Mondays and Thursdays on a Jetstream 32 aircraft, seating up to 19 passengers.

AirLink will provide the services connecting Bourke, Lightning Ridge and Walgett to Dubbo.

At the launch on Tuesday Minister for Western NSW Adam Marshall described the agreement as “historic”.

“Country people deserve the same access to transport services as their city counterparts and these new air services will go a long way towards leveling that playing field,” he said.

“Better access to air services means improved opportunities for people to travel to other parts of the state to be with loved ones and access jobs, education and healthcare. It’ll keep western NSW communities better connected with the rest of the state.”

FNWJO Chair and Cobar Mayor Lilliane Brady said she was appreciative of the government’s commitment to getting planes back in the air for Cobar.

She also applauded the teamwork of the FNWJO.

“Some were sceptical that the Far North West Joint Organisation, founded only a year ago, could bring this project to fruition. Well, we showed them—we brought together an experienced, professional team and today’s announcement is the culmination of the team’s considerable efforts.

“I was really impressed with the collaboration between each of the member councils when the team made presentations to the Board. I believe this project will become a case study for government as to how Joint Organisations can work together to achieve results for their wider region,” Cr Brady said.

The “local” rate, which is available for anyone residing within the 2835 postcode, allows a return flight to Sydney for around $500 and around $250 return to Dubbo.