The biggest regional flights deal in Western Australian history has been launched, with 50,000 “affordable” airfares between Perth and Broome, Kununurra and Exmouth on sale now.
The partnerships between the state government, Virgin Australia and Qantas will deliver a vital economic boost to the northern WA tourism regions who were hardest hit by COVID-19.
The 2020-21 State Budget includes the McGowan government’s $21.4 million Regional Aviation Recovery Program, which funds the affordable airfares to deliver flights to Broome from $199, Kununurra from $249, and Exmouth from $149.
The same discounts apply for travel from Broome, Kununurra or Exmouth to Perth, providing even better value for people travelling either way between the city and the northern destinations.
The partnership with Virgin will allow travellers to fly between Perth and Broome from $199 one-way between 2 November 2020 and 30 October 2021.
Virgin’s Kununurra deal will offer flights from $249 one-way between 29 March 2021 and 30 September 2021 when purchased 21 days in advance.
The airline will also operate five flights per week to Kununurra between April and September 2021 on Boeing-737 aircraft, increasing capacity on the route by over 65 per cent.
The Qantas partnership includes special one-way fares between Perth and Exmouth from November 2020 for 12 months, priced at $149 one-way during low season (4 November to 27 March) when booked 30 days in advance, and $169 during high season (28 March to 30 October) when booked 45 days in advance.
Qantas operates daily services year-round between Perth and Exmouth, with additional flights during peak periods, using Airbus A320 and Fokker 100 jets.
The Virgin and Qantas special fares can be booked online or through travel agents.
These deals follow the success of recent airfare partnerships secured by the WA government to destinations such as Esperance, Monkey Mia, Albany, and Carnarvon.
The latest partnership with Virgin in July saw discounted flights between Perth and Broome and Perth and Kununurra sell out within a week.
WA Premier Mark McGowan said: “This is the single biggest regional aviation partnership Western Australia has ever seen, implemented at a time when northern WA needs it most.
“The tourism industry in the state’s north has felt the impacts of COVID-19 the most, with its remoteness making it more difficult to attract intrastate tourists.
“We are very pleased to again be working with Virgin Australia and Qantas to help Western Australians discover their own backyard at a more affordable price.
“Tourism operators in the north offer some of the most unique and sought-after experiences and adventures available anywhere on the planet. This massive deal will help more Western Australians enjoy what we have to offer and help keep our state safe and strong.
“Our significant investment in regional aviation is part of our WA Recovery Plan, to help support and enhance WA’s tourism industry and create jobs right around the state.”
WA Tourism Minister Paul Papalia said 2020 has been the most difficult year the tourism sector in the state’s north has faced, with dedicated local operators being put under serious pressure as a result of COVID-19.
“We know there is nothing more effective for the northern tourism industry than affordable flights, and this huge deal will deliver the local travellers operators need,” he said.
“There is no better or more affordable time for Western Australians to discover the world-class Kimberley and Coral Coast as tourists in their home state.
“There are a range of once-in-a-lifetime and bucket list experiences on offer from the local industry in this part of the state, and we encourage everyone travelling north to get involved and support these local businesses and communities.”
Transport Minister Rita Saffioti access to air services was not only critical for the state’s economy, but essential for the health and wellbeing of Western Australians.
“These discounted airfares will provide opportunities for those living in these regional towns to access affordable airfares to get to and from Perth, as well as their family and friends visiting them,” she said.
“We are doing everything we can to provide better links between regional communities and Perth, with millions of dollars being spent to drive prices down and make movement around our vast state more affordable.
“We are continuing to have productive discussions with airlines to secure further affordable flights to additional destinations, supporting regional communities and local tourism businesses.”
Featured image source: iStock/Aerometrex