Survey tackles air routes
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.