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Community urged to support airline in tough times

Airlink General Manager Ron O’Brien with pilot Matthew Williams at the Bourke Airport. Photo TWH

The future of Bourke’s air service hangs in the balance, as the clock winds down on a four-year government subsidy.

Bourke Shire Council General Manager Mark Riley told a community meeting last week the Air Link service needs community support to survive.

He said that Air Link, like every other airline, had been hit hard by the COVID pandemic.

“Everyone in Bourke knows we are lucky to have air services, and that Air Link is flying regular services to Bourke,” Mr Riley said.

“But it is as tough a time as ever to start and run an airline service.

“We have NSW government funding eight million dollars through the Far West Joint Organisation to subsidise the flights for four years.

“And unless we get more money in the future and a lot more support from the community, those flights aren’t sustainable.

“Locals need to support Air Link services which provide great value and the ability to connect to Sydney and beyond.

“There were 120 flights a week initially but that is now at about 60 flights because of the impact of COVID and it will take a while to get back to those pre-COVID levels, if ever.

“I understand the afternoon flights aren’t operating and that makes it a bit more difficult for connecting flights, but it is really important for people to support the service.

“Air Link have reduced their prices and changed their schedule and is offering very affordable ticket prices.

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