Hon Rita Saffioti BBus MLA

Hon Rita Saffioti BBus MLA

Minister for Transport; Planning; Ports

    New regional flights to further connect the Kimberley

    19/06/2018 4:20 PM
    • McGowan Government collaborates with industry and local communities to expand regional air routes
    • Increased service to connect regional communities and expand opportunities for freight, jobs and tourism
    • State Government is committed to encouraging innovative and collaborative ways to reduce regional airfares
    • Review of State Aviation Strategy underway to identify further improvements  

    Flights to the remote Kimberley community of Balgo will start from July 2, 2018, following an agreement to increase air services that will help further connect communities in the region.


    The State Government, Aviair Airlines, the local community and local government have collaborated to identify the new Kununurra-Halls Creek-Balgo Regular Public Transport air route as the first move towards improving aviation throughout the whole region.


    The new route will be serviced by Aviair's nine seater turbo prop aircraft and will run two return services per week.


    Getting to Balgo via road can be challenging, particularly in the wet season. The decision to extend the current Kununurra-Halls Creek air service to include Balgo will provide more choice for those living in and visiting the Balgo community, and expand opportunities for freight and tourism.


    The service will result in increased air service frequency and expansion of flight connections within Western Australia, which is one of the recommendations from the Parliamentary Inquiry into Regional Airfares that the State Government approved in April 2018.


    The new route will be trialled for 12 months, with the option of extension. The Department of Transport is subsidising up to $500,000 for the trial, with any costs above this to be borne by Aviair.


    For flight schedules and bookings, visit https://www.aviair.com.au


    Comments attributed to Transport Minister Rita Saffioti:


    "The Kimberley region has some of the most remote communities in WA and air services play a crucial role in helping to reduce isolation.


    "The additional flights to Balgo will be the third intraregional flight added to the Kimberley region in the last couple of years, with Kalumburu flights starting last year and air services between Kununurra to Halls Creek commencing in 2016.


    "The State has also been investing in upgrading aviation infrastructure in the Kimberley. In the past five years over $3 million in Regional Airport Development Scheme grants have been provided to improve facilities at airports in the Kimberley, making it safer and more comfortable for those flying to and from these communities."


    Comments attributed to Kimberley MLA Josie Farrer:


    "This new link to Balgo is the result of collaboration and innovative thinking, with the Department of Transport, Aviair, the community and local government working together to find opportunities to provide services that will have positive impacts on those living in Balgo and the Kimberley region.


    "It is promising to see an airline take a commercial risk to expand its services onto these regional routes, and proactively engage with government and the community to ensure the service meets the needs of the region.


    "Distance can be a huge barrier for the economic and social development of remote communities, and additional flights and investment in aviation services will help further connect communities in the Kimberley by providing improved transport options."


    Minister's office - 6552 5500