Push for flights boost

Pilbara News - - News - Tom Zaun­mayr

Qan­tas has no plans to al­ter its flight sched­ule to Ex­mouth, de­spite mount­ing ev­i­dence planes have been fill­ing up all year, re­sult­ing in higher prices and lim­ited travel op­tions for res­i­dents and tourists.

The Shire of Ex­mouth and Ex­mouth Cham­ber of Com­merce and In­dus­try has been lob­by­ing the na­tional car­rier to boost ca­pac­ity, with cham­ber pres­i­dent Barry Sul­li­van stat­ing ev­i­dence sug­gested cur­rent ser­vices were above 80 per cent ca­pac­ity.

Shire pres­i­dent Matthew Ni­ikkula said long-term com­mit­ment to in­creased flight ca­pac­ity would sup­port in­vest­ment and jobs growth in Ex­mouth. “Qan­tas and Tourism Aus­tralia are us­ing the Nin­ga­loo Reef ex­pe­ri­ence to sup­port the cam­paign to at­tract vis­i­tors to Aus­tralia,” he said. “Pro­vid­ing ad­di­tional on­go­ing seat­ing ca­pac­ity to Ex­mouth will make sure peo­ple can ac­cess that ex­pe­ri­ence they are be­ing promised.

“The first step is to have a com­mit­ment to ad­di­tional flights, and to date that has not hap­pened out­side ad hoc, short-term mea­sures such as one-off in­creases dur­ing the com­ing school hol­i­days.”

Mr Ni­ikkula said big­ger planes, ad­di­tional flights or pro­vi­sion of an Ex­mouth to Broome link would be ben­e­fi­cial. Qan­tas re­fused to con­firm the ca­pac­ity of flights to and from Ex­mouth, claim­ing the av­er­age amount of peo­ple on a plane was com­mer­cially sen­si­tive in­for­ma­tion.

“We cur­rently have no plans to change our sched­ule for flights to Lear­month, how­ever we are al­ways re­view­ing our net­work to en­sure that we have the right air­craft on the right route to match de­mand,” a spokes­woman said.

North West Cen­tral MLA Vince Cata­nia said the State Gov­ern­ment needed to push air­lines to be more hon­est with the public.

“The Gov­ern­ment should be de­mand­ing Qan­tas puts on ex­tra flights as a re­quire­ment of their li­cence,” he said.

Mr Cata­nia said Ex­mouth fares should be capped at $150.

Pic­ture: Tom Zaun­mayr

Qan­tas is be­ing urged to boost ca­pac­ity to Ex­mouth.

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