McGowan Government delivering for Kimberley aviation

  • McGowan Government continues to support aviation throughout the Kimberley
  • Third weekly Kununurra-Halls Creek-Balgo air service proving popular with locals
  • Eight Kimberley airports received more than $1.5 million in funding through RADS grants
  • Three weekly return Derby-Broome flights to commence August 16
  • McGowan Government committed to capping airfares to two zones
  • The McGowan Government is continuing to deliver and support aviation services throughout the Kimberley region.

    East Kimberley residents have embraced a third weekly return air service between Balgo and Kununurra, via Halls Creek, that started in February 2021.

    The McGowan Government has committed to trial a third service per week on the route from February until the end of November 2021.

    Passenger numbers on the Aviair operated Kununurra-Halls Creek-Balgo route, which is serviced by a 9-seat aircraft, have increased significantly compared to previous years, with more than 600 passengers using the service between February and June 2021.

    This is more than double as many passengers as the same period in 2020 and an almost 70 per cent increase on the same period in 2019.

    With a dirt road the only other access in and out of Balgo, the air service is crucial for the community to access key services. This service has been particularly critical this year with severe flooding cutting off the Tanami Road between Halls Creek and Balgo during January and February.

    Balgo Hill Airport received a $427,000 Regional Airports Development Scheme (RADS) grant in the most recent 2021-23 funding round to contribute to upgrading the runway and replacing runway lighting, enabling safer night landings.

    The RADS grants program saw more than $630,000 allocated to three Kimberley airports in the 2021-23 funding round, and more than $880,000 towards new and existing projects to improve infrastructure and safety at Kimberley airports during the 2019-21 funding rounds.

    Work on four of the projects was completed during the 2019-21 funding cycle, with works or planning in progress on the other six projects from the last two funding rounds.

    A 12-month trial of a new air service between Broome and Derby will also start on August 16, with seats available at the fixed price of $119 one way.

    Three return flights per week will operate between Broome and Derby, with the State Government entering into a deed of agreement with Aviair to provide the new service.

    This new air service will allow Derby travellers to access essential services in Perth by connecting to Broome flights.

    As stated by Transport Minister Rita Saffioti:

    “Our Government is committed to ensuring residents have access to quality and affordable airfares.

    “The isolation of many Kimberley communities, with road access often limited during the wet season, means regular and reliable air services and safe, accessible airports are critical for the safety and wellbeing of residents.

    “Maintaining and upgrading regional airport infrastructure can be costly for airport owners and I’m so pleased more than $1.5 million has been allocated to fund 10 projects over the last two RADS funding rounds.

    “We are strongly committed to improving air access to regional WA by increasing inter and intra-regional air services, lowering the cost of air travel and ensuring regional and remote airstrips are well-maintained.”

    As stated by Kimberley MLA Divina D’Anna:

    “I know how important it is for Kimberley residents to have access to affordable, quality flights.

    “It is crucial that regional and remote Western Australians have frequent air services to access medical and other government services, visit family and conduct business.

    “I am so pleased the Balgo and Kununurra, via Halls Creek flight has been such a success and I look forward to seeing how popular the Derby to Broome flight is when it commences in August.”

    2021-23 RADS grants allocated – Kimberley

    Airport nameWork descriptionRADS grantStatus
    Warmun AerodromeWarmun Aerodrome usability and future improvement requirement study$49,290Finalising project deed
    Balgo HillsResheet the existing runway pavement and replace runway lights with LED fittings$427,058Finalising project deed
    Mulan AirstripReplace the existing runway, taxiway and apron lights and windsock with LED fittings and undertake an Aerodrome Options Study $155,000Finalising project deed

    RADS funded projects underway and completed during 2019-21 – Kimberley

    Airport nameWork descriptionRADS grantStatus
    Halls Creek Airport Purchase and install fixed runway tie downs$8,460Completed
    Kalumburu AirportPrepare an airport design plan, and the construction of a RFDS/passenger shelter, pilot rest area and public toilet $575,000In progress
    East Kimberley Regional Airport (Kununurra)Upgrade RPT apron lighting$65,749In progress
    Fitzroy Crossing AirportUpgrade perimeter fencing$130,543Completed
    Kalumburu AirportRemove rocks at the end of the airstrip, undertake airstrip grading works, replace runway makers and clear vegetation around runway lights$75,570Completed
    Kalumburu Airport Purchase and install aircraft tie downs$18,470Completed
    Mount Hart AirstripPurchase and install marker cones and gables$11,169In progress

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