Petitioners call for lower NW airfares
Pilbara residents say they are fed up with the price of airfares to and from Perth, with two new petitions lobbying State and Federal Government gaining more than 8700 signatures in less than a week.
Sixteen-year-old Karratha Senior High School student Liam Payne, who read his petition at State Parliament on Monday, gained the support of almost 8000 residents on Change.org.
Liam said his return airfare to Perth cost of more than $900.
He said exorbitant airfare prices were hurting families living in the Pilbara.
“Since the mining downturn people have lost jobs and still have family up here which they can’t even visit because of these ridiculous costs,” he said.
“I know I have family down in Perth that I can’t visit often because it’s just too expensive for our family ... with two siblings, plus mum and dad, our flights add up to thousands of dollars.”
Mr Payne said he was inspired after seeing a similar petition from Newman resident Cindy Williams gain almost 750 signatures in 24 hours.
Ms Williams said she believed airlines were monopolising flights, adding not everyone living in the town earned $100,000 per year.
A Qantas spokesman said the organisation encouraged customers to book early to get the best fare.
He said airfare prices were driven by market demand and operating costs but would be happy to meet any council on request.
A spokesman for Virgin Australia said the airline continually reviewed its network.
Pilbara MLA Brendon Grylls said the State Government subsidised bus and train tickets in the South West and it would be beneficial to North West residents if taxpayers’ money was spent on subsidising aviation costs.