MP gauges interest in new flight paths
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.
Karratha Airport general manager Mitchell Cameron with Pilbara MP Brendon Grylls, who launched the regional air route connectivity survey last week.