Qantas regional airports call ignores realities of high airfares

 

Qantas’ discount fares announcement has dodged the real issue on regional airfares, putting undue pressure on regional airports while residents remain in the dark about what they’re paying for when they book a flight.

Australian Airports Association (AAA) Chief Executive Officer Caroline Wilkie said while any savings for regional communities was a step in the right direction, Qantas was misleading on regional airport charges.

“We welcome any savings for regional communities that continue to struggle to access affordable airfares,” Ms Wilkie said.

“However, a recent regional airfares inquiry found part of the challenge in finding real solutions for regional Australia is a lack of transparency from domestic airlines about how airfares are determined.”

Contrary to reporting today, a senate committee report released this year found regional airport charges only make up a small portion of airfares, consistent with the Productivity Commission’s draft findings and the conclusions of a WA Government inquiry into regional airfares.

The senate committee called for an open and transparent approach to how regional airfares are determined, recommending the Productivity Commission conduct a standalone, public inquiry on the determinants of domestic airfares on regional routes.

Ms Wilkie said three quarters of regional airports surveyed by the AAA said their real airport charges had stayed the same or reduced over a five-year period.

“Many regional airports have told us they continue to face pressure from airlines to further reduce their charges even as these airports face persistent budget deficits and rising costs of compliance,” Ms Wilkie said.

“It’s disappointing our biggest, most profitable airline thinks squeezing an extra dollar out of struggling regional airports is the solution, while they continue to charge local residents ‘discount fares’ as high as $800.”

ENDS

20 August 2019

 

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