Pe­ti­tion­ers call for lower NW air­fares

Pilbara News - - News - Court­ney Fowler and Re­becca Parish

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.

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