LONGREACH is 686km from Rockhampton but there are currently no air services connecting the towns.
To catch a plane to the western Queensland town you would have to make a four-hour detour via Brisbane just to get there.
However, there seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel, with more direct air services set to be established in the near future.
The initial business case, which is a concept nearly two decades in the making, is to have air services between Winton, Longreach, Rockhampton and all points in between.
Chair of the Central Queensland Airports and Aerodrome Owners Group and Rockhampton Regional Councillor Neil Fisher said Rockhampton had been working with central Queensland councils to finalise the business case in recent weeks.
"It is my long-standing belief that connecting central Queensland by air will bring our communities closer together and provide economic opportunities for all parties involved,” Cr Fisher said.
"I'm pleased the meetings we've had last week with mayors and CEOs representing central-west Queensland have all indicated we need this to take off as soon as possible.”
Cr Fisher said in terms of supply and demand, the numbers of passengers warranted services, with a number of airlines having shown a real interest in providing the flights.
"Having been on board with the Central Queensland Airports and Aerodrome Owners Group for quite some time, these developments fill me with optimism that we can land a deal,” he said.
"There are good reasons to go ahead with this from an economic development and tourism perspective, but it is the social benefits such as closer connections to families, to medical services and to boarding schools in Rockhampton that has been highlighted as a major platform for this business case to proceed.”
Barcaldine Regional Council Mayor Rob Chandler met with Cr Fisher last week and has lent the council's full support for an east-west air link between Winton and Rockhampton City via all points in between.
"This concept has been on the table for nearly two decades. Now with the emergence of other reliable carriers in the market, this link could just become a reality,” Cr Chandler said.
"I commend the effort by Rockhampton Council and all other local governments on route to come together collectively for the benefit of all our residents.”
Cr Fisher thanked each of the councils for their unwavering support and was looking forward to future discussions regarding the proposals.
"The meetings this week have been excellent. We're all on the same page.”
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