- Discounts of up to 30 per cent for residents in nine regional cities to continue
- Improvements enable residents to book 12 return trips each year at the discounted rate.
- Program expanded to include Longreach, Barcaldine and Blackall
Qantas has today announced an expansion of its discounted fares program giving residents living in regional Australia access to more affordable air travel.
The program was introduced last November as a 12-month trial in selected regional cities where residents compete with a very high proportion of corporate travel, specifically from the resources industry.
Residents can access discounts of at least 20 per cent and up to 30 per cent off return fares for travel from their local airport to their nearest capital city or major town. (See below for list of eligible routes discounts apply to).
In response to community feedback, Qantas will also make the following improvements:
- Triple the maximum number of trips that residents can book each year – up from four return trips per resident per year to 12.
- Expand the program to include residents in Longreach, Blackall and Barcaldine for return travel to Brisbane where residents are impacted by their remoteness and limited travel options.
More than 6,000 return trips have been booked since the discount fares program launched last November by residents from Broome, Kalgoorlie, Karratha, Paraburdoo, Port Hedland, Newman, Mount Isa, Cloncurry and Moranbah.
Qantas Domestic CEO Andrew David said the extension of the program was part of the national carrier’s ongoing efforts to make it easier for residents in remote cities to access more affordable air transport.
“Qantas’ roots in regional Australia run deep. We were founded in outback Queensland almost one hundred years ago and we know we have an important role to play in the regional communities we fly to,” said Mr David.
“We’ve seen a strong uptake from residents taking advantage of the discounted fares. We’ve taken onboard feedback from communities during the trial and have made changes to the program to make it easier to access these discounted fares.
“The reality with regional travel 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.
“There are some fundamental realities about the costs of operating regional services that we can’t change, but this program is a good example of how we’re working to make sure travel options are both accessible and sustainable,” added Mr David.
Qantas is in ongoing discussions with regional airports and Councils about reducing the fees they charge each passenger, which are built in to air fares, to enable further savings to be passed on to residents. Greater discounts are available for residents in Kalgoorlie-Boulder, Mount Isa and Longreach where these charges have been reduced and Qantas is inviting other airports to follow.
Qantas continues to run regular sales providing competitive fares for all customers travelling across its network and encourages residents to book as early as possible and be as flexible with their travel plans as they can to get the best fare.
The discounted fares program is part of a broader suite of initiatives designed to support regional Australia including through drought relief and the new Qantas Group Pilot Academy that is expected to drive local economic activity and support jobs when it opens in regional Australia next year.
Figures recently released show that Qantas contributed more than $5 billion to the economy in regional Australia in FY17 and supported more than 40,000 jobs.
The changes to the program are effective immediately and eligible residents can book at qantas.com/residentfares.
The discount applies to the Qantas-controlled component of return fares (which excludes airport charges, security fees and GST) and is available on all Economy fare classes except for sale fares, for purchase up to and including the day of travel.
Discounts vary from between 20-30 per cent, depending on the type of fare purchased. The most flexible (and therefore, higher) the fare, the greater the percentage discount. This means that last minute trips during peak travel times or seasons, which are traditionally more expensive, are more accessible for residents.
To access the discount, residents need to book a return flight on Qantas and be a member of the Qantas Frequent Flyer program. Qantas is waiving the usual joining fee of $89.50 for residents who aren’t already members.
The discounts are available for personal travel to individuals who reside in the following regional ports:
|WA – for return travel to Perth||QLD – for return travel to Brisbane|
|Broome||Mount Isa (and return travel to Townsville)|
|Kalgoorlie||Cloncurry (and return travel to Townsville)|