Shire signs flight agree­ment

Broome Advertiser - - News - Jakeb Wad­dell

The Shire of Broome has backed the study of di­rect flights to the Pil­bara, af­ter en­ter­ing into a non-bind­ing agree­ment with a Ku­nunurra-based avi­a­tion com­pany last week.

The Kim­ber­ley town has be­come the fifth lo­cal govern­ment to en­ter the mem­o­ran­dum of un­der­stand­ing with Avi­air, a huge swing in mo­men­tum af­ter the Shire of Ash­bur­ton quickly dis­missed it.

The re­vival of the com­pany in Broome would link the town with other North West des­ti­na­tions, in­clud­ing Port Hed­land, Kar­ratha, Onslow, Ex­mouth and New­man.

Al­though no of­fi­cial costs have been re­leased to the pub­lic yet, it is un­der­stood a pas­sen­ger would pay about $600 for a di­rect flight.

As part of the mem­o­ran­dum of un­der­stand­ing, Avi­air will work with the Pil­bara Re­gional Coun­cil to pro­vide the Shire with reg­u­lar up­dates on fur­ther devel­op­ments, case stud­ies, re­ports, data and, even­tu­ally, a re­quested amount of fund­ing.

The non-bind­ing agree­ment, which the coun­cil car­ried at an or­di­nary meet­ing on Thurs­day, will give the Shire a seat at the ta­ble to ne­go­ti­ate with lo­cal gov­ern­ments in the Pil­bara through­out the fea­si­bil­ity and anal­y­sis stage.

It is un­der­stood the com­pany hoped to garner two years of lo­cal govern­ment fund­ing un­til reach­ing a stage of self-suf­fi­ciency.

Avi­air man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Michael McConachy said he was de­lighted the Shire en­tered into the MOU.

“We have put a lot of work in the de­vel­op­ment of the pro­posal and worked closely with the var­i­ous shires and cham­bers,” he said.

“We look for­ward to con­tin­u­ing this work over the next cou­ple of months be­fore in­tro­duc­ing a more for­mal pro­posal.” Act­ing Shire pres­i­dent Harold Tracey said he hoped the pro­posal con­tin­ued to gain trac­tion.

“I am optimistic that, given the sup­port of a number of lo­cal coun­cils, the State govern­ment will look at get­ting on board as well,” he said.

“I an­tic­i­pate the in­tra-re­gional ser­vice would start small and ben­e­fit busi­nesses try­ing to op­er­ate be­tween the re­gions but I could see it ex­pand­ing and even ben­e­fit­ing tourism in the fu­ture.”

Avi­air man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Michael McConachy.

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