Narrabri air services tenderer flags wider NSW network with Jerry Schwartz coming aboard as investor
Airspeed Northwest has added leading hotel and tourism entrepreneur, Dr Jerry Schwartz, as an investor in the air services group, with the prospect of establishing a regional airline to service the NSW north-west and Hunter areas.
Airspeed Northwest is currently tendering for services from Narrabri Airport, where they propose to operate a 19 seater Beech 1900 aircraft on the Narrabri-Sydney-Narrabri route.
Narrabri has been without regular air services since the collapse of Brindabella Airlines in 2013, which has meant long drives to Moree or Tamworth for residents of North West NSW travelling to Sydney.
The service would be operated by experienced regional aviation company Airspeed Aviation, and would be focussed on regional investment, regional development and regional employment. While the airline would be based in Narrabri, the Airspeed Northwest group has interests in Tamworth and Hunter Valley and will look to expand operations and the network in the future.
The potential for expansion of the operation has increased significantly with the addition of Dr Jerry Schwartz as an investor in the airline. Dr Schwartz and his Schwartz Family Company is the largest private owner of hotels in Australia, with significant hotel and tourism interests in Sydney, Canberra, the Hunter Valley and Melbourne.
Ben Wyndham, Managing Director of Airspeed Aviation, said that the potential for developing regional air services in NSW was enormous, and the addition of Dr Schwartz as an investor highlighted the group’s intention to become a major player in the north west of the State.
“We have the right aircraft, the right personnel and the financial backing to make this new service work, and we then believe there is considerable potential to grow the network further,” said Mr Wyndham.
“Our venture includes significant investment in pilot training, safety and maintenance, and with our strong background in all of these areas, we believe we have the credentials to expand the operation in years to come.”
Dr Schwartz said that Ben Wyndham’s strong Hunter Valley links had attracted him to the venture as there could be synergies with his launch of charter services between Sydney, Newcastle and Cessnock using seaplane services operated by Blue Sky Airlines.
“It’s early days yet, but a strong regional tourism economy needs the support of efficient transport infrastructure, and we believe there are outstanding opportunities to service major regional centres in NSW,” said Dr Schwartz.
Ben Wyndham said that the Narrabri service proposal was currently being assessed by Narrabri Council and they were hopeful of a decision on the proposal in the next few months.