Disappointment as axe falls on Dubbo-Cobar air service

Air Link to end Dubbo to Cobar air service


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Destination end: Air Link, a subsidiary of Regional Express, will pull out of its Cobar-Dubbo service after 28 months, effective from December 29. File photo.

Destination end: Air Link, a subsidiary of Regional Express, will pull out of its Cobar-Dubbo service after 28 months, effective from December 29. File photo.

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Air Link will cease to operate the route it started just over two years ago.

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Economic development and civic leaders at Dubbo are disappointed regular passenger flights between the city and Cobar are ending once more within weeks.

Air Link, a subsidiary of Regional Express (Rex), has confirmed its service between the two centres will cease on December 29.

The carrier had been operating the route since 2015 “under a close working arrangement” with Cobar stakeholders, it said.

The end of those arrangements had led to the air services being withdrawn, it said.

Regional Development Australia (RDA) Orana chairman John Walkom learned of the decision from the Daily Liberal on Friday.

“It’s disappointing we’re losing services to our rural and remote western communities,” he said.

“Connectivity is very important and Cobar is a strong contributor to the state economy with mining.”

Links were also important for the delivery of services including health and education, Mr Walkom said.

“And the cost to government not having that connectivity must be immense - lost productivity, travelling time, extra overnight stays.”

Mr Walkom suggested the discussion about which tier of government was responsible in cases where a service was not commercially viable needed to be re-visited.

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Cobar was one of seven destinations available from Dubbo City Regional Airport, operated by Dubbo Regional Council.

Dubbo mayor Ben Shields said the council was “disappointed with the withdrawal of air services between Dubbo and Cobar by Air Link”.

He said while it was not expected the decision would have a significant effect on total passenger numbers at Dubbo’s airport, the impact on the Cobar community was of concern.

“As the major regional city consistent transport services to and from towns such as Cobar are necessary for business including employees working in the mining industry but also residents who come to Dubbo to visit family as well as to shop and experience the city,” he said.

The council would continue to play an active role in attracting operators to Dubbo’s airport to provide services to regional routes as well as routes to the major cities, he said.

A spokesperson for Air Link said the company would continue to provide engineering support for Air Link’s fleet of aircraft as well as the Regional Express Group aircraft and third party maintenance for private aircraft.

Passengers holding reservations for travel between Cobar and Dubbo/Sydney from December 29 onwards would be offered a full refund, the spokesperson said.

The Daily Liberal

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