City, please ex­plain

Augusta Margaret River Times - - Letters - Leon Ryan, Bus­sel­ton

I find it in­ter­est­ing and mis­lead­ing that the City of Bus­sel­ton is now us­ing yet an­other ex­ec­u­tive to fight their bat­tle with the State Gov­ern­ment over the build­ing of the Bus­sel­ton Air­port ter­mi­nal.

In my view, the air­lines have done the maths, and the num­bers don’t stack up, un­less an ex­or­bi­tant sub­sidy is needed.

Build­ing an air­port ter­mi­nal will never guar­an­tee an air­line fly­ing to Bus­sel­ton.

We have been told that if an air­line were to op­er­ate to Bus­sel­ton, it will prob­a­bly be from Mel­bourne, three to four times a week and “back of the clock” (late-night de­par­ture Mel­bourne, late-night ar­rival/de­par­ture Bus­sel­ton and early-morn­ing ar­rival back into Mel­bourne).

Bus­sel­ton is com­pet­ing with up to 17 di­rect daily ser­vices to Perth from Mel­bourne and un­less the fare is very com­pet­i­tive with Perth and a high pas­sen­ger load fac­tor is achieved in both di­rec­tions, it will not com­pete.

It used to be said in air­line talk that if a desti­na­tion was within three hours drive from a cap­i­tal city, an air­line ser­vice would not be vi­able. Bus­sel­ton is 21⁄ hours from Perth and will re­duce fur­ther with the Bun­bury by­pass.

The Busi­ness Coun­cil of Aus­tralia chief ex­ec­u­tive says In­done­sia is an­other big mar­ket that we are miss­ing out on be­cause of their many wealthy res­i­dents and grow­ing mid­dle-class.

With Bali be­ing the main In­done­sian desti­na­tion for trav­ellers from Perth, I have yet to see the wealthy mid­dle class from Bali trav­el­ling to Bus­sel­ton. The mid­dle class re­ferred to is ac­tu­ally in Jakarta. At the mo­ment, there are nine di­rect ser­vices be­tween Perth and Bali.

We’re not told if any in­ter­na­tional air­lines have elected to fly to Bus­sel­ton, but if they have I doubt whether it would be a daily ser­vice and again, it will be com­pet­ing with nu­mer­ous daily flights from Perth to Sin­ga­pore, Bali, Jakarta, Hong Kong, China etc.

Sig­nif­i­cant money has prob­a­bly been spent on con­sul­tants telling the City what they want to hear.

It would seem that no do­mes­tic or in­ter­na­tional air­line has com­mit­ted to come and I hope the City can ex­plain why not and stop blam­ing the Gov­ern­ment and oth­ers for this project not de­liv­er­ing as they have told us it would.

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