The positive news keeps coming for our city. The latest good news is the announcement that FlyPelican will start direct flights between Dubbo and Newcastle on 18 July. The initial flights will be twice daily on Monday; Wednesday and Friday with the probability that Tuesday and Wednesday flights will be added soon. With the existing services provided by Rex; Qantaslink and Jetgo and the new services from FlyPelican, our Airport will now have 178 scheduled weekly flights going direct to six different ports (Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Newcastle, Broken Hill and Cobar). We have just seen nine consecutive months of record passenger numbers through the airport and this announcement will see even further growth in passenger numbers. With our current growth in this financial year, we should top 200,000 passengers for the first time ever. Our data is showing that, as expected, people are travelling from the region to Dubbo to take advantage of our flights – from Western towns and from other nearby centres such as Parkes, Bathurst and Orange.
The data has also shown something quite surprising. Take the Brisbane flights for example. Over thirty per cent of the people using this service have a Queensland postcode. What we assumed would be an advantage for travellers from our region is also proving to be convenient for people who live at the other end of the flight. This opens up additional tourism opportunities and I have been in contact with the Lord Mayor of Brisbane to discuss how we can further these opportunities. With this additional knowledge in flying patterns, I not only expect people from our region to use the Newcastle services but I also expect people from the Newcastle region will see additional opportunities to visit our wonderful city and region. We have been in confidential talks with FlyPelican for some time and I have already had talks with the Office of the Lord Mayor in Newcastle to again see what additional tourism opportunities these services will present.
When you consider the recent announcement of the $18 million Royal Flying Doctor Service facility to be built at the airport and the earlier announcement of the $7.4 million State Government grant to strengthen our runway to allow all of these services to continue landing in Dubbo, it seems like the airport is onward and upward – if you will excuse the very poor pun.
To make sure we keep our feet on the ground, we do have the dark cloud of amalgamation constantly looming over our head which tends to create some stagnation in our forward planning. We have the best possible chance of thwarting the amalgamation threat though by having our State Member, the Deputy Premier, as our local Member. If anyone can save Dubbo from amalgamation, then the Hon Troy Grant MP can. We have done all we can and now I am putting my faith in our local member.
Councillor Mathew Dickerson
Mayor of the City of Dubbo