The draft WA Aviation Strategy 2020 has today been released for public comment, with community and industry encouraged to have their say in helping to shape the future of aviation and regional airfares in Western Australia.
The draft strategy sets out the future policy approach and practical actions to foster improved airfare affordability, and to ensure the aviation industry supports the future growth of WA.
The release of the draft strategy follows the McGowan Government’s election commitment to have a parliamentary inquiry into regional airfares.
The four main objectives of the strategy are:
- affordable airfares;
- connected communities;
- fit for purpose airport infrastructure; and
- informed and future ready, through better data analysis and planning.
The strategy recognises that community access to air services is critical to regional liveability and attracting jobs to the regions. It also seeks to identify and realise tourism opportunities by drawing more visitors to our State through expanding the air route network.
The 13 recommendations from the parliamentary inquiry into regional airfares have been taken into account in developing the strategy, and reflects the feedback collected from more than 240 stakeholders and community members at the nine workshops and community drop-in sessions held across WA in 2019.
To coincide with the release of the strategy, the McGowan Government is allocating
$12.85 million towards a regional aviation and tourism package to boost cheaper regional airfares and drive more visitation to regional Western Australia.
While the $8 million fund will go directly towards incentivising initiatives that will support more affordable regional airfares on key routes.
The remaining funds will be immediately used to drive more interstate and intrastate travellers to holiday in Western Australia, in response to east coast bushfires and the novel coronavirus.
Increased collaboration with airlines and regional communities in recent years has led to some initial success, with the average cost of regional airfares trending downwards and regional flight patronage rising.
The new package will build on the McGowan Government’s success in attracting more visitors through cheaper airfares to Exmouth, Monkey Mia, Carnarvon, Broome, Esperance and Albany, and the soon to be direct flight trial between Busselton and Melbourne.
Public comment on the draft WA Aviation Strategy 2020 can be made by visiting https://www.mysaytransport.wa.gov.au/WAAviationStrategy. Submissions close at 5pm on March 27, 2020.
As stated by Transport Minister Rita Saffioti:
“The McGowan Government recognises the importance of affordable airfares and air services to Western Australians. We have delivered on our commitment to hold a parliamentary inquiry into regional airfares and have continued to implement actions from the recommendations.
“There has already been some positive progress on airfares since the inquiry. Innovation and collaboration among all stakeholders has led to lower fares for 15 regional towns, along with expansion of new air routes to international, regional WA and east coast destinations.
“While there has been good progress, more needs to be done.
“The draft WA Aviation Strategy 2020 is a plan to advance aviation in WA and sets out a practical approach that reflects the current and future needs for the State.
“As part of the proposed strategy actions, the State Government will support aviation trials that support lower airfares in regional WA.
“We are putting an initial $8 million on the table to attract airlines to come up with discount airfare options to regional areas.
“We will also take a more proactive approach to data collection, reporting, future planning and regulatory oversight, which will enable the State to make data driven aviation policy decisions for the future.
“The actions within the strategy will require collaboration, engagement, innovation and transparency from airlines, airport operators, State, Commonwealth and local governments, and the resources and tourism sector, to positively impact airfares and air services in WA.
“Airfares and air services have been a big issue for many Western Australians, and I encourage individuals, businesses and the aviation industry to provide feedback on the draft WA Aviation Strategy 2020.”