MP gauges in­ter­est in new flight paths

Pilbara News - - Front Page - Court­ney Fowler

Mem­ber for Pil­bara Bren­don Grylls has launched a new sur­vey cam­paign gaug­ing public de­mand for con­nect­ing re­gional com­mu­ni­ties by air within north­ern WA, as well as in­ter­state and in­ter­na­tional con­nec­tions.

The re­gional air route con­nec­tiv­ity sur­vey also aims to iden­tify tourism op­por­tu­ni­ties, busi­ness growth and ac­ces­si­bil­ity to ed­u­ca­tion and re­gional ser­vices at 15 par­tic­i­pat­ing air­ports cov­er­ing 11 lo­cal gov­ern­ment ar­eas.

Mr Grylls said gaug­ing trav­ellers’ in­ten­tions for us­ing air ser­vice con­nec­tions at ma­jor re­gional des­ti­na­tions such as Kar­ratha — to travel lo­cally, in­ter­state or abroad — could help shape the fu­ture of the avi­a­tion in­dus­try in re­gional WA.

“There is a strong case for in­tro­duc­ing a more in­clu­sive hub-and­spoke model of air travel across the North West and Mid West to in­crease re­gional con­nec­tiv­ity and ease the air traf­fic bur­den on Perth,” he said.

“I en­cour­age com­mu­nity mem­bers to take the sur­vey, which will help pro­vide data for air­lines to con­sider in re­gard to con­nect­ing air­ports in the mid and north-west of WA.

“Ul­ti­mately, more con­nec­tions through a bet­ter net­work will make our towns and re­gional cities more af­ford­able to ac­cess by air.”

Sur­vey de­vel­op­ment was co-or­di­nated by Shire of Ex­mouth Avi­a­tion Ser­vices ex­ec­u­tive man­ager Jenny Kox af­ter dis­cus­sions held on air route con­nec­tiv­ity at the North West Aus­tralian Air­ports Fo­rum in July.

Ms Kox said there were lim­ited di­rect con­nec­tions be­tween air- ports in the re­gion.

Kar­ratha Air­port gen­eral man- ager Mitchell Cameron said the big­gest im­ped­i­ment to de­vel­op­ing tourism in the north was a lack of con­nec­tiv­ity be­tween re­gional town cen­tres.

“If we had the same kind of con- nec­tiv­ity and pric­ing struc­ture as the Eastern States, it would to- tally trans­form the north,” he said.

“At the mo­ment, we are just a fil­ter for Perth Air­port, but we could in­crease con­nec­tiv­ity within the Pil­bara by us­ing all the spare ca­pac­ity we have at air­port ter­mi­nals through­out the re­gion.

“With only four hours of peak flights per day, small car­ri­ers could be run­ning a ‘milk run’ ser­vice in­be­tween which could con­nect all the town cen­tres with one air­craft with­out im­pact­ing on the larger play­ers like Qan­tas and Vir­gin.

“We’ve got de­mand strength­en­ing. We just need the air­lines to en­gage in this con­ver­sa­tion.” There is a sur­vey for each air­port in­volved in the cam­paign, which is run­ning over six weeks.

They in­clude Broome, Carnar­von, Derby, Ex­mouth, Fitzroy Cross­ing, Ger­ald­ton, Halls Creek, Kar­ratha, Ku­nunurra, New­man, Onslow, Pan­na­won­ica, Parabur­doo, Port Hed­land and Shark Bay.

Online links to the sur­veys for each air­port are avail­able by vis­it­ing the web­sites of your lo­cal air­port, lo­cal gov­ern­ment au­thor­ity or lo­cal visi­tor cen­tre.

Pic­ture: Court­ney Fowler

Kar­ratha Air­port gen­eral man­ager Mitchell Cameron with Pil­bara MP Bren­don Grylls, who launched the re­gional air route con­nec­tiv­ity sur­vey last week.

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