Departing Qantas CEO Alan Joyce’s final move to cut flights into Alice Springs has drawn criticism from tourism bodies.
Qantas will reduce the number of direct flights from Sydney and Melbourne to Alice Springs to coincide with the northern hemisphere winter.
The move has drawn criticism from Northern Territory Tourism Minister Nicole Manison who has called on incoming CEO Vanessa Hudson to remain committed to supporting flights into the NT.
“I think the time for Mr Joyce to go is right,” she told the ABC. “It seemed like a very, very long handover to me.
“We had Vanessa up in Darwin a few months ago, and I have to say she has a real passion for the Northern Territory. I’d say this is a great opportunity to set a new foot forward.”
The Sydney route will drop down from daily flights to six, while the Melbourne route will drop to four times a week.
Danial Rochford, chief executive of Tourism Central Australia, said the changes would result in a loss of 18,000 seats over a six month period.
“I think all of Australia needs our national airline to be strong,” he told the ABC.
“They need it to be understanding of the areas that they fly to and the impacts that decisions like this will have on rural communities and remote communities.
“We want to see our aviation strategies moving forward. That we look at increasing airline capacity in and out of Alice Springs not reducing it.”