Regional cities move to capitalise on Canberra's Capital Express route

A regional hub will lobby for domestic air services to Canberra, following the launch of the Capital Express service.

Canberra Airport owner Terry Snow, Singapore Airlines CEO Goh Choon Phong and ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr at the ...
Canberra Airport owner Terry Snow, Singapore Airlines CEO Goh Choon Phong and ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr at the announcementof the new Capital Express route. Photo: Karleen Minney

Wagga Wagga will push for domestic air services between the city and Canberra airports in order to bring flights to Singapore and Wellington, New Zealand to the Riverina's doorstep.

Member for Riverina Michael McCormack is backing the campaign by Wagga newspaper The Daily Advertiser and said the idea of an air service from the nation's capital to Wagga had already been floated with ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr.

"I think anything we can do to drive investment and social and economic opportunities for the Riverina is a great thing," Mr McCormack said.

"This is going to open up some real, meaningful and lasting opportunities for our region."


The Chief Minister said the new route meant Canberra was now a more attractive destination for domestic carriers, and he was open to meeting with delegates from the greater area to discuss the expansion of regional routes.

"The decision made by Singapore Airlines was in part due to the 1 million people living in the Canberra region, and it's great to see centres like Wagga Wagga excited by the announcement," Mr Barr said.

"I would expect there to be fresh analysis from smaller carriers on having direct flights to Canberra from regional airports, with the ability to now fly internationally without having to go via Sydney or Melbourne."  

Making the vision of domestic flights between Wagga and Canberra a reality would be down to whether QantasLink and Regional Express – the two airlines operating out of the city's airport – found the route to be commercially viable.

Mr McCormack, who is the Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development, said he would discuss the proposal and its opportunities with QantasLink and Rex in coming months.

Wagga mayor Rod Kendall, another backer of the campaign, said any air link between the city and Canberra would present opportunities for the wider region.

"There's no reason why we wouldn't encourage those discussions with Rex whether they could make a viable route out of Wagga-Canberra on the back of those international flights," he said.

The idea was backed earlier this week by Wagga Business Chamber president Tim Rose and Griffith-based Casella Wines managing director John Casella.

With The Daily Advertiser