Few issues attract greater local interest or rouse community sentiment more in regional Western Australia than the cost of air travel.
In the regions, air travel is not a luxury – it is an essential service, akin to buses or trains in the metropolitan area. It sustains communities, provides links to families and friends, facilitates economic activity and affects people’s perceptions about the ‘liveability’ of regional centres.
Access to reasonably-priced air travel can be the point of difference between feeling a sense of remoteness or remaining connected. Between deciding to build a life in a regional town, or leave because the sense of isolation is too great.
This Inquiry was initiated because regional communities have repeatedly voiced their concerns about the price of regional airfares, and have often been met with muted industry responses. Moreover, government policy has not adequately addressed community concerns – particularly following recent changes in the market.
This Report examines whether prices are in fact high; considers the impact these prices have on regional communities; explores causal factors driving high prices; and suggests steps that Industry and Government might take to address community concerns and reduce airfares.