Overseas flights open rift
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.