Fair fares for towns
Qantas has announced it will extend its discount on airfares for residents of several regional WA towns, including Newman and Port Hedland.
A trial of the residents’ fare program began in November 2017, with airfares to nine regional cities in Australia discounted by up to 30 per cent for four return flights a year.
Qantas announced recently the trial will be expanded and will be increased to 12 return flights a year.
More than 6000 flights were booked using the scheme over the trial period, according to Qantas. WA towns included in the trial are Broome, Karratha, Kalgoorlie and Paraburdoo.
Qantas domestic chief executive Andrew David said the extension of the program was part of the national carrier’s ongoing efforts to make it easier for residents in remote cities to access affordable air transport.
“We’ve seen a strong uptake from residents taking advantage of the discounted fares,” he said.
“The reality with regional travel is that the per kilometre cost on a small aircraft is significantly higher than a larger aircraft that operates between major cities, because the costs are divided by a much higher number of passengers.
“These regional routes don’t have the levels of demand needed to sustain a much larger aircraft and we want to maintain the frequency of services.
“There are some fundamental realities about the costs of operating regional services that we can’t change, but this program is a good example of how we’re working to make sure travel options are both accessible and sustainable.”
Qantas is in ongoing discussions with regional airports and councils about reducing airport fees and charges, which they claim would enable further savings on airfares.
Kalgoorlie-Boulder is the only WA town to reduce fees so far.