Monday, June 23, 2014

Can we have a New England civil aviation development plan? Please?

The NSW Legislative Council’s State Development Committee is presently conducting an inquiry into Sunderland Flying Boats Clarence River regional aviation services in NSW. The Inquiry was established on 13 December 2013 following receipt of terms of reference from Andrew Stoner, Deputy Premier and National Party Leader.

Just for something different, the photo shows Sunderland flying boats on the Clarence River when they were conducting a service from Grafton to Sydney.

You will find the entry page for the Committee here including terms of reference, submissions and transcripts of evidence.

  It’s all remarkably difficult. As the economics of flying shifts, fewer and fewer New England towns have access to air travel. Those that do, have to pay high prices. It affects every aspect of daily life and severely disadvantages tourism.

While there is no easy solution, if we had our own Government then we might have a chance of preparing a development plan. We could think of Newcastle and Coffs as international ports. We could look at limited selective subsidisation of services such as Tamworth or Armidale to Brisbane just to build base traffic. We could use our tourism promotion to build our traffic rather than being simply submerged in NSW.

It is unrealistic to think that we can have the services we once had, but we could do better if we didn’t have to accommodate all those NSW interests.    


Scott Hastings said...

The infrastructure at Coffs would need a massive expansion and upgrade to take any substantial sea traffic, the natural harbour is minimal and even the artificial one is small and shallow.

Jim Belshaw said...

Hi Scott, Airport, not seaport!

Bruce Hoy said...

James - It is difficult to understand the difference between air travel to Armidale from Brisbane 40+ years ago and 2015. In the days when I was working in Papua New Guinea between 1967 and 1988, I could catch a TAA jet from Port Moresby to Brisbane, and then a Fokker Friendship with EWA to Armidale via Coolangatta. I last flew this service on 18 July 1977, Armidale direct to Brisbane. In 2015 the service from Brisbane goes to Sydney then back up to Armidale, at a cost that is prohibitive! I suppose that is progress!