Strong de­mand for di­rect flights: study

Broome Advertiser - - Advertiser News - Jakeb Wad­dell

Di­rect flights be­tween Broome and the Pil­bara could be a step closer to re­al­ity, after a re­cent study re­vealed strong busi­ness de­mand from the tourist town.

The Broome Cham­ber of Com­merce and In­dus­try sur­veyed 78 or­gan­i­sa­tions last month to con­trib­ute to stud­ies by the Pil­bara Re­gional Coun­cil, which is re­search­ing the fea­si­bil­ity of the di­rect flights on be­half of air­line Avi­air.

The ques­tion­naire asked re­spon­dents which routes they would po­ten­tially travel on and how reg­u­larly the flights would be needed for busi­ness.

Kar­ratha proved to be the most es­sen­tial des­ti­na­tion, with 92.19 per cent of re­spon­dents stat­ing they would utilise the ser­vice.

In ex­cess of 80 per cent said they would travel to the Pil­bara town more than once a year and a quar­ter said they would need it at least once a month.

The Broome to Kar­ratha ser­vice, with a stopover in Port Hed­land, also fared well in the sur­vey, with 73 per cent stat­ing it would be use­ful for their busi­ness and three in four want­ing to fly more than once a year.

The sur­vey comes just months after the Shire of Broome be­came the fifth lo­cal govern­ment to en­ter a mem­o­ran­dum of un­der­stand­ing with Avi­air, which aims to re­vive its con­nec­tion from the Pil­bara to Broome and Ex­mouth after it was dropped in 2016.

It is un­der­stood that, if in­tro­duced, the Broome to Kar­ratha re­turn ser­vice would run once each week and carry nine pas­sen­gers, whereas a ser­vice with a stopover in Port Hed­land would run twice weekly, also seat­ing nine pas­sen­gers each flight.

BCCI chief ex­ec­u­tive Jael Nap­per said the data clearly demon­strated de­mand for a flight con­nec­tion to the Pil­bara.

“A num­ber of or­gan­i­sa­tions in town have busi­ness or in­vest­ment in­ter­ests, which means they would reg­u­larly com­mit to these flights,” she said.

“It is fan­tas­tic that these coun­cils have banded to­gether to help make this hap­pen. When the Broome to Pil­bara link stopped, the Cham­ber re­ceived con­cerned let­ters from a huge num­ber of busi­nesses in Broome who needed these flights.

“We are glad to be do­ing ev­ery­thing we can to help re­vive a link that is des­per­ately needed.”

Avi­air man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Michael McConachy said the data col­lected by the BCCI was con­sis­tent with the air­line’s find­ings.

“Our ini­tial re­search showed that there is a strong need for this ser­vice and it ap­pears the Cham­ber’s sur­vey re­flects this re­search,” he said. “This is an im­por­tant link that we’re very keen to bring back. It is clear that busi­nesses need it, but it will also be es­sen­tial for ed­u­ca­tion, health and govern­ment agen­cies.”

The Broome Ad­ver­tiser was told the air­line hoped to gar­ner two years of lo­cal govern­ment fund­ing un­til reach­ing a stage of self-suf­fi­ciency.

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