CAIRNS businesses have lashed out at Qantas for abandoning direct Cairns-Papua New Guinea flights.
Qantas announced last month that, due to high demand for flights to Bali, it would be reducing its domestic flights in regional areas.
This includes shifting its Cairns-Port Moresby flights to Brisbane-Port Moresby from the end of October in order to better serve the business market.
Air Niugini is now the only operator maintaining direct flights between Cairns and PNG.
Advance Cairns CEO Kevin Byrne said Qantas’ removal of the route and its 12 weekly services would be a savage blow for the Far North.
“The removal of the services altogether has halved the capacity on the route overnight,” he said.
“There still might be an opportunity to negotiate a compromise position here.
“I hope that Qantas might be receptive to maintaining a daily service at least.
“The business community in particular is fearful that with only Air Niugini operating on the route, airfares will steadily rise as competition will cease to exist.”