Regional carrier Skytrans says it will exit the Sydney-Toowoomba route once QantasLink begins flights from Sydney to Brisbane West Wellcamp airport in November.
Skytrans chief executive Simon Wild said his small, family-run airline just could not compete against the big national carriers such as Qantas.
“We are proud to have been the pioneer in getting that service up and running,” Wild said in an interview on Wednesday.
“We’ve worked hard over it and there has been a lot of good feedback from our customers but it is time to hand the baton on.”
“We will look for our next opportunity.”
Skytrans flies from Sydney to the smaller Toowoomba Airport, which is owned by the local shire council, while QantasLink’s service will operate from the new Wellcamp airport built by the Wagner family and completely financed with private money.
The airline has promised a “seamless changeover” ahead of QantasLink starting services from Wellcamp on November 17.
Wild said the route suffered as the excess capacity added by the national carriers forced down prices and made it attractive for people to head to Brisbane rather than fly out of Toowoomba.
“It has always been a bit of a struggle and it has taken us a while to get there,” Wild said.
“There were very good signs at the start but I think with the price war that has gone on between the major carriers in the last 12 months it has driven yields down because of the very cheap fares available in Brisbane.
“So a lot of people have said they would rather drive the extra distance to Brisbane buy the $99 fares.”