Bega Valley locals are often heard grumbling when purchasing airline tickets. In fact, flying to another country is often cheaper than flying between Merimbula and Sydney.
The NSW Government is making moves that could allow another airline into the local market, stimulating competition and cheaper prices. Under current regulations only one carrier is licensed to fly the Merimbula – Moruya – Sydney route.
That license expires in March 2018 and the NSW Transport Minister and Member for Bega Andrew Constance seems keen to deregulate the service. Thirty-five thousand passengers a year currently fly with Regional Express Airlines on the route.
Bega Valley Shire Council, the owners of the airport are supportive of deregulation and see it as an important part of their plans to extend the runway allowing bigger plans to land.
Council also sees potential spinoffs locally with Singapore Airlines recently starting direct international flights between Singapore – Canberra – Wellington (NZ)
The Minister for Transport told ‘About Regional’ he would also be lobbying for more landing slots to be opened at Sydney Airport to accommodate more operators.
Free Spirit Airlines which is the second operator on the already deregulated Merimbula – Melbourne route is understood to be interested in adding the Sydney leg to their schedule.