Jetstar has ruled out the possibility of establishing flights to and from Coffs Harbour in the future. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE
Jetstar has ruled out the possibility of establishing flights to and from Coffs Harbour in the future. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE

Jetstar responds to calls for Coffs Harbour flights

IN the wake of Tigerair's announcement it's axing all routes from Coffs Harbour Airport, the region has been dealt another blow as rival budget airline Jetstar has also ruled out any possibility of servicing the Coffs Coast in the near future.

Advocate readers, who have been left disappointed by Virgin Australia's decision to cut its low-cost carrier's Sydney and Melbourne routes, had been asking the question of whether Qantas' low-cost carrier Jetstar would instead take its place.

The closest airport Jetstar provides services for is Ballina Byron Gateway Airport, with tickets for a direct flight to Melbourne available for as little as $69.

But in a statement provided to the Advocate, a Jetstar spokesperson said the airline is not considering providing flights to and from the Coffs Coast anytime soon. 

"While we regularly evaluate potential new routes in partnership with airports and councils, we're not currently considering flights to Coffs Harbour," a Jetstar spokesperson said.

Meanwhile, a petition addressed to Tigerair launched by local resident Jacquie Houlden has attracted over 4,000 signatures.

Ms Houlden said the aim of the petition was to show Tigerair how important its Melbourne route had been for the region.

The cancellation of Tigerair's services has meant direct flights to Melbourne will no longer be available at all from Coffs Harbour Airport.

"Even having one or two flights a week would be brilliant rather than cutting the services as a whole," she said.

Member for Oxley Melinda Pavey supported the Tigerair petition in parliament last week.

"I have a lot of family in Victoria and it has been an incredible and unbelievably cheap service. That may be one of the issues," Ms Pavey said.

"I call on the management of Virgin to look at the messages from our community on the Mid North Coast. We love the service. It has been very important to our kids and to our families and to many former Victorians who have decided to live in our region."

Ms Pavey however said she cannot formally submit the petition to parliament because it is not in the right form.

Ms Houlden has stated Coffs Harbour City Council will instead present the petition to Virgin Australia.

Coffs Harbour City Council, which owns the airport, has been negotiating with airline partners Qantas and Virgin Australia on the possibility of establishing a direct service to Melbourne, according to a council spokesperson.

Member for Coffs Harbour Gurmesh Singh has also expressed his disappointment and has written to Virgin Australia.

After suffering a $99 million lost in the first half of the financial year, Virgin Australia had announced late last month it would be cutting five Tigerair routes.

Cairns and Sydney, Adelaide and Sydney and Hobart and the Gold Coast routes have also been axed.