Brindabella Airlines in Canberra Photo: Andrew Meares
Brindabella Airlines' decision to move its biggest aircraft and six pilots to Sydney did not mean it would close its headquarters in Canberra, a spokesman has said.
''Someone has their wires crossed,'' group chief operating officer Ian Vanderbeek said. The airline would be starting a Newcastle to Canberra service in January, he said.
''That is it. That is in response to market demand. Instead of starting at Canberra, it starts at Newcastle.''
Mr Vanderbeek said there was no change to its Sydney operations, where aircraft had been based for two years, except for relocating a 30-seater BAe Jetstream 41 from Canberra to Sydney.
In a statement, Brindabella said: ''Positioning the Jetstream 41 in Sydney is the first step for the airline [towards] introducing fleet standardisation, resulting in lower costs, improved on-time performance, to effectively create a more economically viable product to the customer.''
Mr Vanderbeek also corrected a senior staff member of the airline who had earlier told The Canberra Times that pilots in Canberra were being offered jobs in Newcastle.
Brindabella Airlines' business administration supervisor Anna Roberts said on Thursday: ''Obviously it will be a case-by-case thing with each pilot, depending on whether they wish to relocate or not. We do already have some pilots in Newcastle. We have merged with Aeropelican.
''We have a lot of Aeropelican pilots based out of Newcastle.
''We have a lot of government personnel coming from Newcastle into Canberra for meetings.''
About six pilots would be transferred from Canberra to Sydney in January, Mr Vanderbeek said.
He said that Brindabella's founder and managing director Jeff Boyd was no longer at the helm of the joint operation with Aeropelican but was still a consultant.
The small airlines train pilots and have had to contend with bigger airlines attempting to lure its pilots. In March, the airlines said that aggressive recruitment campaigns by operators in the more than 30-seat capacity market was exerting more pressure on their operations on top of rising fuel costs, higher airport charges and the carbon tax.
''Aeropelican and Brindabella Airlines have been forced to readjust their schedules by redeploying equipment across the network and adjusting capacity,'' the airlines said in a statement in March.
Aeropelican and Brindabella Airlines operate 207 flights a week, serving Brisbane, Canberra, Cobar, Coffs Harbour, Mudgee, Narrabri, Newcastle, Sydney, and Tamworth.