PLANS to secure a new air service for Griffith have been thrown into turmoil after the collapse of Brindabella Airlines this week.
The ill-fated airline was one of three circling Griffith after council re-launched the search for new carrier.
Council had been in talks with Brindabella, as well as another Tasmanian airline, in a bid to get the highly sought after Griffith to Melbourne route into the air.
Meanwhile, Connect Jet – which has promised to fill the void left by Regional Express early last year – has not ruled out establishing a service in Griffith.
Also this week, the government has released the Terms of Reference for an inquiry into regional airlines in NSW.
Nationals MLC Rick Colless will chair the investigation to secure more reliable and inclusive passenger services to and from regional centres, and will hold the first meeting this week.
Griffith Business Chamber’s Paul Pierotti said the inquiry was something the business community had been pushing for since the federal government withdrew the enroute rebate scheme.
“Regional communities need reliable, safe transport,” Mr Pierotti said.
“It’s not a luxury, it’s a necessity.
“We need a change in attitude to understand that there does need to be government assistance to help people in rural and remote areas.”
Mayor John Dal Broi said the collapse of Brindabella, which called in administrators and stood down 140 staff on Monday, made the search for a new Griffith carrier even harder.
“It is getting difficult but we are still working with the other company,” Cr Dal Broi said.
“We haven’t given up.”
Cr Dal Broi said council would investigate routes to Melbourne via other regional centres, such as Dubbo or Albury, to make the service more viable.
“Aviation is a very costly industry,” he said.
“The government is really going to have to tip in some substantial dollars to support regional airlines.”