Fair fares for towns

North West Telegraph - - News -

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.

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