Western Australia’s government is caping the price of regional domestic flights in the state to make air fares more affordable but it also helping regional airlines by subsidizing these air services.

It says it is providing A$19.9 million (US$13.5 million) in subsidies over three years to the following carriers: Airnorth, Qantas Airways, Regional Express, Skippers Aviation and Virgin Australia.

It says the subsidies and fare cap start this month.

One-way fares for regional residents departing an airport that is within 1,000km driving distance of Perth will be capped at A$199 (US$135), while the one-way airfare for regional residents departing an airport more than 1,000km driving distance of Perth is capped at A$299 (US$203), says the Western Australian Government.

Airports within 1000km driving distance of Perth include: Albany, Carnarvon, Esperance, Geraldton, Monkey Mia (Denham), Wiluna, Kalgoorlie, Laverton, Leonora, Meekatharra and Mount Magnet.

Airports more than 1,000km driving distance of Perth include: Broome, Karratha, Newman, Port Hedland, Exmouth (Learmonth), Kununurra and Paraburdoo.

Lower air fares will make a great difference for regional residents who need to travel to Perth for medical appointments or to see family or friends, among other reasons, says state transport minister Jessica Stojkovski.

Before this initiative, high air fare costs were a concern for regional communities, with one-way fares previously rising to A$1,000 (US$680), says the state government.

The statement makes no mention of Western Australian carrier Aviair which last August reportedly introduced a scheme with the state government in which one-way flights between Derby and Broome were fixed at A$119 (US$81).


Feature picture, from Dmarge.com, shows Quantas Airways’ QuantasLink Dash 8-400 turboprop.