THE local business community has responded with cautious excitement to the prospect of a second airline servicing Griffith.
An anonymous carrier revealed this week it would soon launch flights between Griffith and Melbourne to replace the service Regional Express (Rex) will abandon on July 1.
The carrier also has plans to link Griffith to other capital cities and regional centres in the future.
Local businessman Julian Raccanello, who travels with Rex at least once a month, said he hoped the new airline would take on the Griffith-to-Sydney route.
“Competition is always good and I believe Griffith has enough population to warrant a second carrier,” Mr Raccanello said.
“I think we’re currently being screwed over by Rex, not necessarily by their pricing but by their attitude to customers.
“They’re not offering us anything – up until a week ago they had a frequent flyer program but they don’t even have that anymore.
“If another airline comes in with better pricing and they’re actually nice, why wouldn’t you fly with them?”
As a representative of the business community, Griffith Business Chamber president Paul Pierotti, was particularly pleased airline management planned to consult the community on scheduling and pricing, as well as offering local produce on board.
But, after years of pushing council to address issues with Rex, he was frustrated the chamber had not been included in negotiations.
“Ultimately, if this airline delivers on everything they have promised, it’s exactly what we’ve been asking for,” Mr Pierotti said.
“Unfortunately though, the way it has been handled, we can’t be sure anything is going to happen.
“All this secrecy doesn’t sound like the normal business process at all.”
The airline is expected to announce a start date for the Griffith-to-Melbourne service within the next two weeks.