Qantas has announced it will be discounting domestic flights for the residents of six regional towns in Western Australia to Perth.
Effective from November 2017, residents from Broome, Kalgoorlie, Karratha, Paraburdoo, Port Hedland and Newman will receive a discount of between 10-30 per cent on flights to Perth. Those who purchase higher fares will be granted larger discounts.
Qantas Domestic CEO Andrew David said these towns have been chosen based on the high volume of corporate travel, specifically from the resource industry, that residents have to compete with.
“The reality is that the per kilometre cost on a small aircraft is significantly higher than a larger aircraft that operates between major cities, because the costs are divided by a much higher number of passengers. These regional routes don’t have the levels of demand needed to sustain a much larger aircraft and we want to maintain the frequency of services,” he said.
“Regardless of the reasons we know the higher relative costs can be frustrating for residents when they need to travel, especially at short notice.
“Providing a discount for residents helps to offset some of these forces that can push fares on some flights to levels that become unaffordable.”
This discount will be available on all economy fares purchased at any time up to and including the day of travel, except for sales fares, which is expected to make last minute trips during peak periods more accessible.
To access the discount, residents must book a return flight with Qantas. They are limited to four flights per person, for personal travel only.
This new scheme will be subject to a 12-month trial period, after which its effectiveness will be evaluated.
“We’re optimistic that the discount will stimulate additional demand, which will help us offset some of the cost of the scheme,” Mr David said.
Qantas is now working on reducing the regional airport charges, to further increase savings for regional residents.
“We’re pleased Kalgoorlie-Boulder Council has already come on board to reduce Airport passenger charges, which means a greater discount will be available for residents of Kalgoorlie. We’re inviting other Airports to follow,” said Mr David.
WA Premier Mark McGowan has commended Qantas for being the first airline to tackle high regional flight prices.
“I’m pleased that Qantas has listened to people in regional WA, where the exorbitant cost of airfares has put travel out of reach for many.
“Qantas has followed the lead of the State Government, which has been highly proactive in trying to make air travel more affordable for people in regional WA.
WA Minister for tourism Paul Papalia said he hopes this new scheme increases demand and decreases costs, to increase tourism within the state.
“The high cost of airfares in regional WA has plagued regional tourism operators and small businesses for many years,” he said.
“Today’s announcement is a positive step forward and I hope it will lead to downward pressure on prices for people visiting Western Australia and travelling within the State.”