Griffith City Council is still looking for a second airline to service the city, more than a year after Par Avion’s final flight.
The Melbourne to Griffith route was grounded in January 2016 after less than two years of service, leaving Rex as the sole airline for the city. However, the arrival of JetGo in the Riverina has led to calls for council to secure a second service.
At the most recent council meeting, Councillor Doug Curran asked general manager Brett Stonestreet if any interest in a Griffith route had been shown by alternative operators such as Airnorth, which flies from Melbourne to Toowoomba.
Mr Stonestreet said council could follow up with Airnorth and another operator, while deputy mayor Dino Zappacosta suggested Airnorth might be interested in making Griffith a stop on its Melbourne route.
Griffith mayor John Dal Broi confirmed the city would investigate other options for flights.
“The cost of a Rex ticket to Sydney has been reduced and we’ll look at the possibilities of other airlines flying in,” Councillor Dal Broi said. “Par Avion was a good little service but they weren’t making enough to sustain the aircraft.”
Three months after Par Avion came to Griffith, managing director Shannon Wells told The Area News that he had heard complaints about ticket prices, but as more people used the service the costs would come down. However, declining passenger numbers ultimately made Griffith commercially unviable, despite council waiving airport fees in an attempt to retain the service.
Member for Farrer Sussan Ley said Rex did a great job of servicing regional centres like Griffith, but more people needed to use air services to increase competition.
“The best way to enhance population growth and opportunities in the bush is by putting incentives forward to encourage a sensible shift away from our bulging capital cities, instead of just creating another suburb in Sydney or Melbourne,” Ms Ley said. “Big centres like Griffith can then take the opportunity to sell the opportunities and lifestyle benefits of a regional move.”