Regulated routes are generally those routes linked to Sydney (Kingsford Smith) Airport which have fewer than 50,000 passengers annually. Currently there are 14 regulated routes and the licence period for these services expires in March 2013. The new licences will start in March 2013.
Qantaslink has held the current 5 year licence since 2008 and there has been concern on the island that a new licence may not have been created. The Board, supported by Minister Parker, has made representations to the NSW Government regarding the air service to Lord Howe Island for over a year.
Announcing the process Deputy Director General of Transport for NSW, Tim Reardon said. "Regional air routes provide a crucial link for rural communities to access vital services and amenities in Sydney, as well as connecting families that live far distances from each other. "As part of our commitment to drive economic growth in regional NSW, the government is offering licences that will provide operators with exclusive access to those lower volume air routes for a five-year period.
The outcome of the expression of interest should be announced in October. The awarding of a new licence will provide greater certainty for the island's tourism operators and general community.