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Qantas slashes price of regional WA fares


Kalgoorlie Western Australia large

Discounted fares for remote customers from November.

Later this year, Qantas Airways will begin offering discounts on airfares for Western Australian residents in a number of mining towns for travel to and from Perth.

From November, for 12 months, Qantas will offer a discount of between 10-30% on return flights to Perth for residents of FIFO (fly-in-fly-out) towns Broome, Kalgoorlie, Karratha, Newman, Paraburdoo and Port Hedland.

These towns were handpicked by the airline due to the high volume of corporate resources industry travellers.

However, the discount will only apply to the Qantas-controlled component of the return fares, which excludes airport charges, security fees and GST. Qantas Domestic chief executive Andrew David said travel to these communities can be profoundly impacted by their remoteness, high demand and steep operating costs.

"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," he said.

"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... providing a discount for residents helps to offset some of these forces."

The discounts will be available on all economy fare classes except for sale fares, for purchase up to and including the day of travel. This means last minute trips during peak travel times will be more accessible.

To receive the discounted fares, residents will need to book a return flight on Qantas. The discounts will only be available for personal travel and will be limited to four return flights per year for each resident.

The airline is also in discussions with regional airports and councils, encouraging them to trim airport charges, allowing more savings to be passed to locals. Kalgoorlie-Boulder Council is already reducing airport charges.

A similar fare scheme will also be introduced in Mount Isa, Queensland for travel between Townsville and Brisbane, and in the northwestern town of Cloncurry, along the Flinders Highway, for travel to Townsville.

There's something about Western Australia right now that has Australia's full-service airlines dropping the dollars on airfares. Earlier this week, Virgin Australia released a sale with dirt-cheap flights to and from the state capital, Perth, while Qantas just announced discounted sale fares to various Western Australian cities.

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