Pollies reveal plans to cut high airfares
A wide range of ideas have been thrown into the mix by political parties searching for ways to end the so-called “price gouging” by airlines servicing regional WA.
WA Labor has promised a parliamentary inquiry as well as using purchasing power to influence costs. The Liberals want to pursue incentive measures, while the WA Nationals say regulation and price caps are the best way forward.
Pilbara Regional Council chief executive Tony Friday said it was good to see the parties putting up ideas after years of advocacy.
“I don’t think there is any one approach that is going to be sufficient... and I wouldn’t want to see any one of those implemented as a shock tactic,” he said.
“We will be looking to have the major parties, whichever one gets in, start to enact those promises immediately post march 11.”
Mr Friday said with resources companies having sway over flight schedules at the moment, government needed to tread carefully.
“The last thing we want to do is damage Australia’s national productivity in order to fractionally reduce airfare prices for regional Western Australia,” he said.
North West Central MLA Vince Catania said residents in the North West were crying out for reform.
“I agree with an inquiry but it needs to have teeth and needs to look at regulation and subsidisation for regional transport,” he said. “Regulation would allow you to spread the cost of flying over regional WA rather than taking a town by town basis.”
Labor Member for Mining and Pastoral Stephen Dawson said an inquiry would up the pressure on Qantas and Virgin.
“They are commercial operations and at the end of the day they make decisions based on commercial viability and whatever else,” he said.
A Qantas spokesman said distance, fuel, landing charges, security fees and type of aircraft all played a part in determining price.
He said it was best for customers to take advantage of sales and to book early.
A Virgin Australia spokesman said the airline was committed to offering competitive fares.