Call for $250 sin­gle air­fare

Pilbara News - - News - Cally Dupe

It seems an im­pos­si­ble dream — a flat-rate $250 one-way air­fare be­tween Perth and the Pil­bara at any time of the year, be it Christmas, school hol­i­days, or a long week­end.

But it is a dream Pil­bara Re­gional Coun­cil’s most re­cent push might de­liver, with the aim to se­cure a Gov­ern­ment-funded “pub­lic trans­port” sub­sidy to cre­ate a “reg­u­lar flight price”.

PRC chief ex­ec­u­tive Tony Fri­day said the or­gan­i­sa­tion was in talks with Fed­eral and State min­is­ters, Gov­ern­ment de­part­ments, the Aus­tralian Com­pe­ti­tion and Con­sumer Com­mis­sion, air­lines, and re­source in­dus­try rep­re­sen­ta­tives about cre­at­ing a flight sub­sidy for the re­gion.

He said the coun­cil was “mod­el­ling” its pro­posal with the hope pas­sen­gers would one day be able to buy a $250 flight one-way, ir­re­spec­tive of the time of year, ad­ding it would be “co-funded by the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment and big in­dus­try to re­move some of the cur­rent level of price dis­tor­tion”.

“We are con­scious that in terms of pub­lic trans­port sub­sidy, ev­ery time you jump on a train or a bus in the metropoli­tan area the State picks up a part of that bill,” he said.

“In the re­gional ar­eas that sub­sidy is non-ex­is­tent.

“Our ver­sion of pub­lic trans­port is air travel ... but that re­gional sub­sidy doesn’t ex­ist, de­spite it be­ing the Pil­bara, which con­trib­utes a dis­pro­por­tion­ate amount of money to the State econ­omy.”

It was a far-fetched idea, Mr Fri­day said, but one that would cre­ate cer­tainty for res­i­dents and in­crease the Pil­bara’s live­abil­ity.

“It makes an enor­mous dif­fer­ence both at an in­di­vid­ual and busi­ness level — it costs gov­ern­ments a for­tune fly­ing staff to and from the re­gion, and we are con­scious that our res­i­dents are some­times de­lay­ing med­i­cal treat­ments and the like,” he said.

“Pas­sen­gers can get that price ($250), but you have to book well in ad­vance; we are propos­ing this as a reg­u­lar flight price.”

Mr Fri­day said the pro­posal should be mar­ket-reg­u­lated and the re­turn jour­neys from Perth to the Pil­bara re­stricted to res­i­dents only. He said al­though the pro­posal was just a “com­merce in-con­fi­dence doc­u­ment” at the mo­ment, the coun­cil hoped to have a clear ac­tion plan af­ter the March elec­tion.

The idea was ini­tially touted to an au­di­ence of more than 300 at the New Pil­bara Con­fer­ence in Perth last month.

Port Hed­land In­ter­na­tional Air­port chief ex­ec­u­tive Mitchell Cameron said he sup­ported the pro­posal in prin­ci­ple.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.