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Timely to consider the return of passenger flights to the Illawarra


Release Date: 7/02/2017

The Illawarra Business Chamber supports a re-examination of the potential return of passenger flights to the region. The Chamber is aware of many businesses across the region that would value flights to a number of locations including Melbourne, Canberra, Brisbane and Newcastle.
 
Illawarra Business Chamber Executive Director, Chris Lamont, said passenger flights to an Illawarra Airport would provide major benefits for tourism and the broader business sector.
 
Fuel prices were a major factor for the decision of QantasLink to pull its services out of the Illawarra in 2008. Oil prices rose to a peak of US$145 per barrel in July 2008. Today the oil price is in the order of US$55 per barrel.
 
“A lot has happened since 2008 and regional growth, diversification of business activity and growth of the tourism industry are in themselves justifications for passenger flights to and from the Illawarra,” said Chris Lamont.
 
The Chamber believes it is timely and appropriate to consider this issue, particularly given the increase in international flights to centres like Canberra.
 
“By 2050 the population of the Illawarra-Shoalhaven will be around half a million people. The region is home to one of Australia’s top 10 universities and an international trading port. It is therefore appropriate that the region have a passenger flights services,” said Chris Lamont.
 
International tourists are sometimes reluctant to drive in a new destination and providing air links to capital cities and our major regional centres would support businesses across the region.
 
“A regional airport providing passenger flights to and from Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra would be tremendous for the region. The demand for passenger flights was previously demonstrated and we encourage domestic carriers to look at the region seriously,” said Chris Lamont.
 
Media Contact: Katherine Baker 0417 135 858



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