Qantas cuts flights to Thangool
QANTAS has left Banana Shire travellers high and dry by cancelling its Biloela- Brisbane route.
The airline announced on Wednesday that it would no longer run flights out of Thangool Aerodrome from February 1 next year.
A Qantas spokesperson said the "very tough decision” had been made due to low passenger numbers.
"We know that there will be some people in the community who will be disappointed by this news, however we just aren't seeing enough people book seats,” the spokesperson said.
"We've done as much as we can to make the route viable, including increasing to a double daily service on Mondays and Fridays so that people can get up and back in a day, as well as reducing fares to try to stimulate demand.
"We've found that many of our customers who live in the Biloela area choose to drive to Gladstone or Rockhampton and then fly to Brisbane from there, rather than get on a flight from Biloela.”
Banana Shire mayor Nev Ferrier told the Central Telegraph the council had been on the phone to other airlines within hours of receiving the news on Wednesday.
"Straight away we've had interest,” Cr Ferrier said.
"Hopefully by the time Qantas pulls out we'll have another one.
"If there's one good thing they've done it's that they've left it until February so we've got some time to organise someone else.”
Qantas has run eight return flights a week on the route since late last year, flying a 50-seat Q300 aircraft to and from Thangool at least once each day except Saturday.
Cr Ferrier said the size of the planes, which were registering about 37% occupancy, may have played into Qantas's decision.
"Smaller planes more frequently might work out better for everybody, so that's what we're trying to work on,” he said.
The Qantas spokesperson said any customer who had booked a ticket for a flight on or after February 1 could catch a flight from Gladstone or receive a credit or a full refund.