'Flight frequency will reduce': Flight cut fears
TRAVELLERS are likely to be facing less options when flying between Gladstone and Brisbane with fears both Qantas and Virgin will soon start cutting back flights.
Passenger numbers have been on a downward trend since 2013 and with construction coming to an end on Curtis Island the volume of fly-in-fly-out workers using the airport will continue to decline.
Virgin Airlines says, at this stage, it has no plans to cut back on its services which range from three to six flights per day.
Mayor Matt Burnett says it is only a matter of time before the major airlines will be forced to change their schedules.
Between July 2014 and July 2015 passenger numbers dropped by 32,143 - from 532,243 to 500,100.
By the end of this financial year those numbers are expected to have dropped by another 30.2%, figures from the Gladstone Airport Corporation say.
"They put a lot of flights on to service the FIFO workers," Cr Burnett says.
"I see there being no doubt the frequency of flight will reduce."
Virgin Australia says statistics show its services are still well used and in a written statement it has "no plans to make any major scheduling changes".
The Observer has also contacted Qantas for comment, but they are yet to respond to our request.
Even if passengers do lose services to Brisbane, Cr Burnett says fewer flights won't impact revenue from the passenger tax of $72 for a return flight - although fewer passengers will.
Regardless, he says there are no plans to increase the tax.
"Just because there may be less flights doesn't mean less tax than we are receiving now," Cr Burnett said.
"It just means having 100 people on one plane instead of two."
Profits have been dropping along with passenger numbers from $5.99 million before tax at the end of 2014 to an expected $2.186 million at the end of the 2016 financial year.
The corporation's profit dived by almost 50% to the end of the 2015 financial year, to $3.10 million.