Qan­tas flight trial a ‘game changer’

Broome Advertiser - - News - Glenn Cord­ing­ley and Jakeb Wad­dell

The Broome com­mu­nity is be­ing urged to em­brace and sup­port dis­counted air­fares be­ing in­tro­duced on ad­di­tional week­end Qan­tas flights, start­ing this Au­gust be­tween Perth and the Kim­ber­ley hol­i­day town.

The spe­cial week­end fares will be avail­able at $199 one-way dur­ing high sea­son (be­tween Au­gust 17, 2018, and Oc­to­ber 16, 2018, and June 21, 2019-Au­gust 17, 2019) and $179 dur­ing low sea­son (Oc­to­ber 17, 2018, to June 20, 2019).

The one-year trial was aimed at stim­u­lat­ing leisure de­mand on the Perth-Broome route, boost­ing in­trastate travel to the re­gion, and giv­ing lo­cals ac­cess to “af­ford­able” fares to the WA cap­i­tal.

Broome Cham­ber of Com­merce and In­dus­try pres­i­dent Peter Tay­lor said it was crit­i­cal for all sec­tions of the com­mu­nity to work closely to en­sure the ex­tra num­bers trav­el­ling re­ceived an “ex­cep­tional ex­pe­ri­ence”.

“This means shops be­ing open and tours avail­able over week­ends,” he said. “The town has to present it­self as a vi­brant hub of ac­tiv­ity by rolling out the wel­come mat and of­fer­ing ex­cep­tional ser­vices at com­pet­i­tive prices.

“We have some great busi­nesses in Broome com­mit­ted to en­sur­ing this trial be­comes a suc­cess.

“We have one and one op­por­tu­nity only to get this right.”

Broome Vis­i­tor Cen­tre gen­eral man­ager Melanie Virgo said the an­nounce­ment had the po­ten­tial to be a “ma­jor game changer” for tourism.

“It is im­por­tant that busi­nesses, tour op­er­a­tors and en­tire town re­alise the enor­mous pos­i­tive im­pact this could have on our econ­omy,” she said.

Tourism Min­is­ter Paul Papalia said he hoped more peo­ple would be en­cour­aged to travel to Broome for a week­end get­away, or vice versa.

“I now look for­ward to work­ing with Air North and Vir­gin Air­ways to try and ex­tend th­ese value for money fares across the Kim­ber­ley,” he said.

Broome In­ter­na­tional Air­port chief ex­ec­u­tive Paul McSweeney said the trial was likely to at­tract peo­ple who other­wise might never have trav­elled to the Kim­ber­ley town.

Tourism Coun­cil WA chief ex­ec­u­tive Evan Hall said the cheap fares would put Broome on a com­pet­i­tive foot­ing with Bali and other win­ter leisure tourism des­ti­na­tions.

Australia’s North West Tourism chief ex­ec­u­tive Glen Chid­low said he hoped the trial would be a step to do the same for other des­ti­na­tions in the north.

Pas­sen­gers would need to book 60 days in ad­vance to ac­cess the full dis­counts.

Two new week­end ser­vices would be in ad­di­tion to sched­uled flights and in­volve A320 air­craft op­er­at­ing on Fri­day and Sun­day.

The nor­mal Broome to Perth flight on Satur­day would in­volve the larger A320 in­stead of the smaller air­craft nor­mally used.

Qan­tas in­tends to of­fer 500 dis­counted seats in the high sea­son and 600 in the low sea­son on the A320 flights each week.

About 29,400 low-cost seats will be on on of­fer dur­ing the trial, which has re­sulted through part­ner­ship with Qan­tas, BIA and the State Gov­ern­ment.

Pic­ture: Glenn Cord­ing­ley

Cable Beach in Broome has been sin­gled out by travel web­site TripAd­vi­sor as one of the best in world.

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