Cata­nia calls for air price cap

Pilbara News - - News - Tom Zaun­mayr

A govern­ment-reg­u­lated mo­nop­oly over air routes has been touted by North West Cen­tral MLA Vince Cata­nia as the “only way” to end price goug­ing in re­gional WA.

Mr Cata­nia said of­fer­ing one con­tract for ev­ery re­gional air route in WA with the caveat that govern­ment sets max­i­mum prices would lead to fairer air­fares with­out hurt­ing the bot­tom line for which­ever car­rier was cho­sen.

But a Depart­ment of Trans­port spokes­woman said there was no sin­gle air­line ca­pa­ble of ser­vic­ing all of re­gional WA’s air routes at present.

“I’m propos­ing we reg­u­late the whole State, that govern­ment steps in and says enough is enough, com­pe­ti­tion doesn’t work be­cause the mar­ket is too small,” Mr Cata­nia said.

“I am calling for the State to be reg­u­lated in avi­a­tion, to give it to one player, to spread the risk, spread the profit all over re­gional WA and for govern­ment then to of­fer that, put a price cap on air­ports.

“We sub­sidise and put in reg­u­la­tions right across trans­port for Perth metro but when it comes to re­gional WA we ex­pect the free mar­ket can give a bet­ter a deal.”

Mr Cata­nia said there was no jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for any­one be­ing charged more than $250 one way for longer re­gional routes such as Perth to Broome.

He said hav­ing a reg­u­lated mo­nop­oly would be cheaper for trav­ellers, cheaper for min­ing com­pa­nies and en­cour­age more fam­i­lies to move to re­gional WA.

A DoT spokes­woman said in most in­stances, less reg­u­la­tion would lead to re­duced air­fares.

“Govern­ment in­ter­ven­tion on in­trastate air routes is re­quired when there is an un­ac­cept­able risk of mar­ket fail­ure, which would jeop­ar­dise ser­vices to re­gional ar­eas,” she said.

“Routes with in­suf­fi­cient pas­sen­ger vol­umes to sus­tain com­pe­ti­tion need to be pro­tected to en­sure that re­gional and re­mote com­mu­ni­ties have rea­son­able ac­cess to air ser­vices.

“Cur­rently, the risk of mar­ket fail­ure on com­mer­cially vi­able, high vol­ume air routes such as Perth-Kar­ratha and Perth-Broome is low.

“These routes are not reg­u­lated by the State Govern­ment as they have suf­fi­cient pas­sen­ger vol­umes en­abling air­line com­pe­ti­tion.”

Trans­port Min­is­ter Dean Nalder’s of­fice failed to re­spond to re­quests for com­ment.

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