Qantas flight trial a ‘game changer’
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.
Cable Beach in Broome has been singled out by travel website TripAdvisor as one of the best in world.