Catania calls for air price cap
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.