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Airline interest “pie in the sky”

Wednesday, 28th August, 2013

By Erica Visser

No major airlines are considering setting up in Broken Hill, despite one councillor’s persistence.

Councillor Peter Black has continually made claims that, through his “connections” with State Government MPs, he was aware of two other airlines that wanted to take on routes to the city.

On this basis, he successfully pushed through a motion to deregulate the Broken Hill to Sydney flight route earlier this year, which resulted in an unimpressed response from the city’s sole air service, Regional Express.

Only two councillors voted against the deregulation including Clr Dave Gallagher, who was concerned about backlash from Rex, which had recently committed to a Broken Hill to Melbourne flight.

With Clr Black still refusing to name the allegedly interested airlines, Clr Gallagher asked that Council management look into the matter.

Letters sent to five airlines saw no positive responses. Qantas and Jetstar told Council that they had no interest in operating in the city.

The other three airlines did not answer Council’s letter.

Clr Gallagher said that it was the response he had expected and that it had resolved the matter.

“That’s the exact response I predicted in relation to that question ... I wanted to put that innuendo to rest,” he said.

“The councillor was never going to reveal what the supposed to airlines were, I asked in Council and there was no answer.”

Clr Gallagher said that Clr Black’s claim might have persuaded some councillors to vote for the deregulation.

“It may have played a role, I don’t know for sure. I’m not against deregulation in general, I believe in free enterprise but when you’re on to a good thing stick to it.”

Clr Gallagher said that he did not expect Clr Black to respond to the claims.

“The situation will be known in the Chamber and known in the general public so the proof is in the pudding, so to speak. The answer’s there.”

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