BATHURST Regional Council is a step closer to having a new airline operating in the city, having selected a preferred provider to service the Bathurst to Sydney route at the airport.
The decision was made on Wednesday night during confidential discussions at council's June ordinary meeting.
It comes after council last month launched an expressions of interest (EOI) campaign to find a replacement for Regional Express Airlines (Rex), which has since confirmed it will withdraw from Bathurst on June 30.
"Council has considered the EOIs received and has chosen a preferred provider and will now negotiate with the company about the airline's proposal," mayor Robert Taylor said.
"Discussions will include flight schedules and aircraft type.
"Interest has remained from business, health and tourist sectors for a return to a daily RPT service which is perceived as necessary for Bathurst to identify as an important regional destination."
Council has not named which airline it will enter into negotiations with.
Earlier Wednesday evening, councillors had an opportunity to comment on the EOI process by way of a public report prepared by the general manager.
The report said that, in the interests of a timely decision, copies of submissions, an analysis by council staff and a recommendation from the general manager would be provided.
Councillor Ian North has also welcomed the opportunity to build a relationship with a new airline.
"With the past airline that's been here, they've been here for a long time and I thank them for their service. For the one coming in, I would hope that we can have a relationship where they talk about their shareholders and we talk about our shareholders, being our ratepayers, and that it can be done in a very professional manner," he said.
"I think sometimes in the past things haven't quite gone to the way we would've liked to see with the airport, but I think this is a new chapter moving forward and I look forward to what's going to happen."
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