Airlines circle Griffith

TWO airlines have already expressed interest in operating flights between Griffith and Melbourne, just weeks after council agreed to pursue new operators for the route.

Following delays from airline Connect Jet, Griffith City Council last month decided to seek interest from other airlines to re-establish flights to Melbourne.

The two interested airlines have not be named, however, Griffith mayor John Dal Broi said one is based in Canberra and the other is from Tasmania.

Canberra-based Brindabella Airlines, which currently does not fly to Melbourne but has a presence in several regional NSW towns, previously approached Cr Dal Broi some months ago but a spokesperson would not comment on the possibility of the company operating out of Griffith.

Cr Dal Broi said council will now meet with representatives from each airline later this month in Griffith.

"They are going to come to Griffith and we will have discussions with them," Cr Dal Broi said.

"We will be looking at their interest, scheduling and costs and the type of aircraft they have and if they have enough capacity to do a 'hop' service such as Griffith-Wagga-Melbourne or Griffith-Albury-Melbourne.

"I'm very happy to listen to any proposal the companies will give to us.

"At this stage, it is very preliminary but it's really pleasing other companies out there have expressed an interest."

Cr Dal Broi sought council approval to "cast the net again" for interest in operating the route after becoming "fed up" with Connect Jet.

The Griffith to Melbourne route was dropped by Regional Express (Rex) last year.

Griffith Chamber of Commerce president, Pat Pittavino, said while his organisation are still in talks with Connect Jet's Earle Burrows an airline needs to be found to operate the route - no matter which airline it is.

"John Dal Broi has been working very hard to secure the flights and I commend him for that," Mr Pittavino said.

"He has the pressure of the whole community on him.

"The Chamber of Commerce has been working in the background with Earle and he might just get [the flights] up.

"But we really need an airline [to operate the route]. We can't afford to play politics.

"I'm 100 per cent behind the mayor.

"Whoever can get their planes here, we'll fly them.

"At the moment [not having the flights] is holding up business."

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