The McGowan Government has welcomed an announcement from Qantas that it will cap the price of airfares for residents in Kalgoorlie and Karratha.
Qantas has confirmed residents of Karratha and Kalgoorlie will pay no more than $800 for a return airfare to Perth, particularly when booking at the last minute or during busy periods.
The remote Western Australian towns are two of 16 across Australia where Qantas is rolling out capped fares for local residents needing to travel to larger towns or cities.
Karratha and Kalgoorlie residents frequently need to compete with high proportions of corporate travel, creating situations where customers have paid excessive prices for last minute or peak period bookings.
The McGowan Government has worked collaboratively with airlines, airports, mining companies and local governments to pursue innovative opportunities to reduce airfares on regional air routes.
A range of discount community fares have already been introduced on a number of regional routes, with record numbers of passengers recorded during 2018-19.
Regional consultation for the McGowan Government’s State Aviation Strategy recently concluded, and the draft strategy which will be released for comment in late 2019 will identify further opportunities for regional airfares.
The McGowan Government also recently provided Kalgoorlie-Boulder Airport with $760,000 through the Regional Airports Development Scheme to upgrade its facilities.
As stated by Transport Minister Rita Saffioti:
“The announcement from Qantas is a great start and I hope it will be the catalyst for more routes across WA being identified for capped or discount fares for local residents.
“The cap on the price of last minute fares could mean the difference between a resident in Karratha or Kalgoorlie being able to attend an appointment, family emergency or special occasion.
“The McGowan Government has received calls for this kind of initiative during regional consultation for the State Aviation Strategy, which will be released for comment in late 2019.
“Facilitating capped regional airfares takes a collaborative approach from airlines, councils, companies and the State Government – so I’m pleased Qantas has provided some relief for Kalgoorlie and Karratha residents.”
As stated by Pilbara MLA Kevin Michel:
“I’m proud that the McGowan Government has pushed for a reduction in regional airfares for regional residents across WA since we were elected.
“The McGowan Government has put in the hard work to reduce airfares for residents through holding a parliamentary inquiry into the cost of regional airfares, hosting regional consultation workshops, and working with the airlines, airports, mining companies and local governments.”
As stated by Mining and Pastoral Region MLC Kyle McGinn:
“I welcome this announcement by Qantas – both Karratha and Kalgoorlie currently face similar circumstances regarding airfares.
“I believe that to see airfares reduced, particularly for local residents, it will require a holistic approach from all tiers of government and the industry itself.
“Airfares play a major role in the liveability of a region – having the ability to travel to Perth when required at a reasonable price will be a priority for many families.
“I will continue to work with my government on finding further solutions in the airfare space.
“This is another positive outcome but I look forward to further solutions in the future.”