- New flights to open up Kununurra as the eastern gateway to the Kimberley
- Iconic tourism attractions such as the World Heritage listed Purnululu National Park to be more accessible to east coast visitors
Alliance Airlines is set to begin a series of direct flights between Melbourne and Kununurra - the eastern gateway to the Kimberley - from 2020.
Alliance Airlines will operate a minimum of 40 direct flights between Melbourne and Kununurra in a code-share arrangement with Virgin Australia.
The flights will commence in May 2020, to complement the start of the tourism season in Kununurra, including the 20th anniversary of the annual Ord Valley Muster.
With up to three return flights a week operating between May and August, the flights will help stimulate further visitation to this unique part of Western Australia - the vast expanse of Lake Argyle, the waterfalls of the Mitchell Plateau, the landscapes along the Gibb River Road, and the World Heritage listed Bungle Bungle Range in Purnululu National Park.
The implementation of these services is a result of collaboration between State and local government, the East Kimberley Marketing Group, and the tourism industry in Kununurra.
The local tourism and business community will be providing $100,000 towards the services, which has been matched by a direct contribution from the State Government.
The Shire of Wyndham-East Kimberley, operator of the East Kimberley Regional Airport, is providing a comprehensive financial package to assist with the establishment of the flights.
Tour company Australian Pacific Touring (APT), who operate a network of lodges, coach vehicles and cruise ships in the Kimberley region, has already committed to the pre-purchase of a number of seats on the flights.
Tourism Western Australia will be undertaking a comprehensive $250,000 marketing campaign to promote the incredible tourism attractions in and around Kununurra to the Victorian market in support of the flights.
Comments attributed to Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan:
"The community, by working together, has done a remarkable job in bringing these flights into play: I share their vision of opening up the East Kimberley to the Eastern States city folk.
"These direct flights will have a hugely positive impact on the economy of Kununurra, helping to create jobs in the tourism and hospitality sectors, and further open up the opportunity for commercial investment in the region."
Comments attributed to Tourism Minister Paul Papalia:
"The State Government, through Tourism WA, is working to improve access for tourists visiting regional Western Australia by working with airlines and industry partners.
"The East Kimberley region is home to some of the State's most incredible tourism attractions and has a strong market presence in Victoria.
"Tourism WA's marketing campaign in Victoria will aim to further raise the awareness of Kununurra and the East Kimberley, and help attract holiday-makers to experience this amazing region courtesy of the new direct flights with Alliance Airlines."
Regional Development Minister's office - 6552 6200
Tourism Minister's office - 6552 5600