Sur­vey tack­les air routes

Pilbara News - - News - Tom Zaun­mayr

With three weeks to go, a re­gional air route con­nec­tiv­ity sur­vey launched by Pil­bara MLA Bren­don Grylls has gar­nered around 2500 sig­na­tures.

The sur­vey is aimed at gar­ner­ing sup­port for con­nect­ing flights be­tween towns in the North West.

Sur­vey co-or­di­na­tor Jenny Cox said with WA air route con­tracts out it was a timely topic to look into.

“We are just try­ing to gauge where peo­ple want to con­nect to in WA,” she said.

“If there are some smaller op­er­a­tors who can do lit­tle hops here and there, it might be ad­van­ta­geous to ex­pand into big­ger ports.

“We can’t prom­ise any­thing though, that is not our de­ci­sion.”

Ms Cox said a hub and spoke ser­vice had the po­ten­tial to in­crease catch­ment for air­lines op­er­at­ing in re­gional ar­eas.

The sur­vey fin­ishes on Novem­ber 15.

Qan­tas chief ex­ec­u­tive Alan Joyce put the idea of con­nect­ing flights in the North West on ice at his re­cent Na­tional Press Club ad­dress, cit­ing lack of de­mand.

“We have very good in­for ma­tion, you can imag­ine the amount of data avail­able to Qan­tas about what the true ori­gin of des­ti­na­tion or pas­sen­gers are and if there was a mar­ket to fly di­rectly, (and if) there was a mar­ket to have in­ter­con­nec­tiv­ity, that’s some­thing we’d do,” he said.

Mr Joyce said the air­line could help de­velop eco­nomic op­por­tu­ni­ties in north­ern Aus­tralia and called on the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment to make tourism a high pri­or­ity to off­set the down­turn in the resources sec­tor.

Mr Grylls said he had met with Qan­tas and Vir­gin ex­ec­u­tives to ex­press his dis­ap­point­ment at the lack of move­ment in air­fare prices.

He said with an in­creas­ing num­ber of empty seats on planes, new in­fras­truc­ture in place and a re­newed fo­cus on tourism, there were no rea­sons for the air­lines to main­tain their high air­fares.

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