Over­seas flights open rift

Pilbara News - - News - Tay­lar Amonini

The Pil­bara’s two big­gest lo­cal gov­ern­ments are at odds over the vi­a­bil­ity of a se­cond in­ter­na­tional flight ser­vice after con­cerns a Kar­ratha to Sin­ga­pore route would un­der­cut the prof­itabil­ity of Hed­land’s Bali ser­vice.

De­spite the avail­abil­ity of in­ter­na­tional flights to Bali pro­vided by Port Hed­land In­ter­na­tional Air­port, City of Kar­ratha Mayor Peter Long said the City was con­fi­dent there was a de­mand for the se­cond in­ter­na­tional ser­vice from the peo­ple of Kar­ratha.

“Kar­ratha res­i­dents have con­sis­tently asked for in­ter­na­tional flight ser­vices, and as such, the City of Kar­ratha has been work­ing to de­ter­mine the vi­a­bil­ity of a ser­vice and how best to de­liver it,” he said.

“Any in­ter­na­tional ser­vice from Kar­ratha would be com­ple­men­tary to, rather than at the ex­pense of, the ex­ist­ing ser­vice from Port Hed­land.”

The Kar­ratha Air­port has been un­der­go­ing an ex­ten­sive route de­vel­op­ment study which it says has shown a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of Kar­ratha Air­port pas­sen­gers travel in­ter­na­tion­ally via Perth and would pre­fer to have a ser­vice di­rectly from Kar­ratha.

How­ever, de­spite the City of Kar­ratha’s con­fi­dence in the ven­ture,not every­one in Port Hed­land feels the same. Port Hed­land In­ter­na­tional Air­port chief ex­ec­u­tive Mitchell Cameron does not be­lieve a se­cond in­ter­na­tional flight ser­vice would be sus­tain­able for the Pil­bara, con­sis­tent with the Town of Port Hed­land’s views.

“I think only one air­port can pro­vide that hub link to the Pil­bara and the world and so we’re al­ready of­fer­ing that ser­vice and we’ve been pro­vid­ing that ser­vice for many years,” he said.

“At the end of the day, if every­one of­fered that same ser­vice it wouldn’t be sus­tain­able be­cause there’s just not enough peo­ple in each one of the Pil­bara towns to make that a con­tin­u­ing ser­vice.”

PHIA has changed its logo to re­flect its stance that Port Hed­land In­ter­na­tional Air­port is the Gate­way to the Pil­bara and has said the peo­ple of the Pil­bara will save a sub­stan­tial amount of money and time fly­ing via Port Hed­land rather than go­ing else­where for in­ter­na­tional flights.

The City of Kar­ratha is com­plet­ing an ex­pres­sions of in­ter­est process for air­lines to fly via Kar­ratha and the coun­cil will re­spond.

Kar­ratha air­port, pic­tured, could soon be set to host in­ter­na­tional flights to Sin­ga­pore.

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