Western Australia’s rapidly expanding tourism industry is set to benefit from new regional airline contracts signed today by Planning and Infrastructure Minister Alannah MacTiernan.
“Starting from January 1, Skywest Airlines and Skippers Aviation will operate airline services which are more in tune with the needs of regional Western Australia,” Ms MacTiernan said.
“Extensive consultation has taken place with representatives of the airlines, local government, Chamber for Minerals and Energy, Tourism WA, regional communities and mining companies, to come up with a more tailored approach to airline flight schedules.”
The two local airlines have operated separate networks in key regional areas of the State since 2001, successfully tendering for the new network services in August this year.
“Negotiations have now taken place with Skywest and Skippers as to the operating parameters, reporting arrangements and conditions of licence and we want to ensure a sustainable regional airline industry delivering the highest level of service to our regional communities,” the Minister said.
Under the licensing arrangements, Skywest will operate the coastal network from Perth to Albany, Carnarvon, Esperance, Exmouth (Learmonth), Geraldton, Kalbarri and Shark Bay.
A northern Goldfields network linking Perth to Leonora, Leinster, Laverton, Wiluna, Meekatharra, Mt Magnet and Geraldton will be operated by Skippers.
“Enhancing air services to increasingly popular tourist destinations along our coast, like Monkey Mia, Albany and Esperance, will go a long way to help WA’s rapidly expanding tourism industry,” Ms MacTiernan said.
“The booming resource sector driving our economy is fuelling demand for a higher level of airline services, particularly in the Mid-West region where both Skywest and Skippers will provide competition into Geraldton.
“It is essential that the additional air travel needs of mining companies can also be accommodated.”
The Minister said the term of the licences would be for three years each, with an option to extend for a further two years.
The new airline services would support the State Government’s $91million national and international tourism marketing campaign, which had seen tourist spending increase to more than $1.2billion across the State.
Minister's office: 9213 6400