Cooma-Sydney snow flights to restart in 2016; Brisbane likely too
In a significant boost to Snowy Mountains tourism The Snow Gauge can reveal that flights from Sydney to Cooma will be starting again in June 2016. In better news still, a first ever commercial service from Brisbane to the snow-hub is also on the cards.
Speaking to The Snow Gauge, Snowy Mountains Airport Aviation Manager Paul Clarke said “we’ll have a service next year come hell or high water”.
“We will have an RPT (ticketed passenger) service probably starting at the end of June 2016. I can’t tell you who that is with yet because we haven’t finalised the service but we do have a letter of commitment from them.”
“Sooner rather than later we intend on finalising the schedule so we can start marketing it.”
In a commercial first Brisbane is also set to have direct flights to Cooma (EDIT: I am told Ansett did briefly run one return flight a week from Brisbane to Cooma in the late 1980s), potentially changing the landscape of Queensland holidays to the snowfields. With regular services to Queenstown, New Zealand has been snatching a fair share of the ski and snowboard market in the Sunshine state but with shorter and potentially cheaper flights the NSW ski fields would be expected to claw at least some of that advantage back.
“We have a similar commitment for a similar service starting in June for Brisbane,” Clarke said. “There are just a couple of impediments because of the size of the aircrafts involved and the security screening at the airport. We just need to nut out an agreement so we don’t have to spend $1.2 million on x-ray equipment.
“There is a big market in Queensland for people who want to ski. This direct service would be very effective for them.”
Despite some reports of the airport being in disrepair Clarke made it clear that Cooma was still currently CASA certified for private/night flights.
He said the Snowy Mountains Airport was however looking at getting some NSW government funding to make infrastructure changes and improvements. Transport from the airport would also be a key issue that would be taken care of.
“There’ll be a regular bus service to meet all these planes to take people to the resorts so there is continuity and connectivity of transport which is important for people who are planning a holiday,” he said.
There has been no specific involvement with the NSW ski resorts, he added.
“They tell me they are not in the airline or airport business,” Clarke said. “They don’t see it as a huge increase in market.”
Brindabella Airlines last operated winter flights to Cooma in 2013 before it went into receivership.