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Whitsunday Times - - NEWS -

in Tig­erair flights had made it “a lot harder for peo­ple to fly in and out”.

“There just doesn’t seem to be enough flights and it seems to be mak­ing it hard for peo­ple to come and go. It should be made sim­ple,” Ms Jones said.

Fish D’vine co-owner Kevin Collins agreed there was “no doubt” ad­di­tional flights would en­tice more “af­flu­ent high spend­ing cus­tomers”.

“The ad­di­tional flights, when can­celled, were no­ticed be­cause it was pas­sen­gers who would stay four or five nights,” Mr Collins said.

“And they’re more in­clined to go out ev­ery night and go on a cruise ev­ery day.

Mr Collins said it had been “qui­eter” re­cently but May and June were tra­di­tion­ally slow months for busi­ness.

“Last year was a bit of an anom­aly be­cause of the cy­clone,” he said.

“Last year, for those who were open, it was a pretty good year and this year it is back to a nor­mal May/June pat­tern.”

He said busi­nesses could panic around this time of year, but by July he ex­pected vis­i­tor num­bers would in­crease with events across the re­gion.

“I say to staff, ‘Don’t worry about the cus­tomers you haven’t got, worry about the ones you do. Make sure they have a great time and go away re­ally happy,” Mr Collins said.

“As soon as you get sucked into the neg­a­tive men­tal­ity it rubs off, then you re­ally will be strug­gling.”

A Tig­erair Aus­tralia spokesper­son said this week the air­line was com­mit­ted to pro­vid­ing bud­get air travel across its do­mes­tic net­work.

“We reg­u­larly re­view our flight net­work and sched­ule to en­sure that it is closely aligned with mar­ket dy­nam­ics, cus­tomer de­mand and op­er­a­tional re­quire­ments,” she said. GEN­ERAL Man­ager of Whit­sun­day Air­ports and Com­mer­cial In­fra­struc­ture Brian Joiner said this week that de­spite Tig­erair sus­pend­ing their Bris­bane flights, pas­sen­ger num­bers for the first five months of this year were still higher than the first five months of last year.

Mr Joiner said that for the first five months of this year, num­bers had reached 186,537, while for the same pe­riod last year num­bers stood at 140,486.

Based on cur­rent fore­casts, he said, pas­sen­ger num­bers for the whole of this year were ex­pected to be 10-15 per cent higher than 2017.

He said a busi­ness case for the Cairns route had been dis­cussed with sev­eral air­lines.

“Al­though it was re­ceived pos­i­tively, the air­lines all have is­sues with air­craft avail­abil­ity and pi­lot num­bers. Dis­cus­sions are on­go­ing in re­gards to this route de­vel­op­ment.”

In re­la­tion to the sus­pen­sion of flights from the Whit­sun­day Coast Air­port to Bris­bane in Fe­bru­ary, a Tig­erair spokesper­son said the air­line did not have plans to re­in­state the Bris­bane-Whit­sun­day ser­vices, but would con­tinue to mon­i­tor the route.

“Tig­erair cur­rently op­er­ates six re­turn ser­vices per week to the Whit­sun­days from Syd­ney and we are proud to pro­vide af­ford­able and re­li­able ser­vices to the Whit­sun­day com­mu­nity,” she said.

In Fe­bru­ary this year, Tourism Min­is­ter Kate Jones said Tig­erair’s an­nounce­ment was “a bit of a kick in the guts” for the re­gion bat­tling to re­cover from Cy­clone Deb­bie.

PHOTO: PE­TER CAR­RUTHERS

MAIN STREET: Air­lie Beach busi­ness is hope­ful a “quite” trad­ing per­oid will be short lived.

ON BOARD: The first Tig­erair flight di­rect from Bris­bane to the Whit­sun­days. The ser­vice has since been cut.

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