- McGowan Government investing more than $4 million to expand regional flight network in the Mid-West, Pilbara and Kimberley
- Funding will support increased seat capacity and extend the network to include new Karratha to Geraldton link
- New link to reduce travel times, with broader expansion to stimulate demand and open new travel markets supporting jobs and the local economy
The McGowan Labor Government has committed more than $4 million in the 2022-23 State Budget to support an expansion of the Inter-Regional Flight Network (IRFN).
Operated by Aviair, the flights will increase air connectivity and passenger capacity across the Mid-West, Pilbara and Kimberley, reducing travel times and supporting jobs and the economy.
The plans include the expansion of the network to incorporate a new Karratha to Geraldton air service. The current network provides flights between Karratha and Port Hedland, Newman and Broome, and Newman and Port Hedland.
The new Geraldton direct route will significantly reduce travel times between Geraldton and the Pilbara, with many small business and FIFO travellers in Geraldton currently travelling to the Pilbara via Perth.
Further to this, Aviair's plans to upgrade planes on the network from a nine-seater to a 76-seater aircraft will significantly maximise flight capacity allowing more passengers and freight to be transported throughout the regions and help improve airfare affordability.
This will stimulate demand and open up new travel markets, such as small business and leisure - to attract more visitors, and will boost jobs and the local economies.
The $4 million investment will help cover some of the operating costs linked to the expansion of the Inter-Regional Flight Network.
This investment is a further commitment by the McGowan Government to enable better access to affordable air services for regional residents, with further discussions underway with various local governments to ensure local communities can benefit from this expansion.
The flight expansion builds on the McGowan Government's delivery of its key election commitment to cap the cost of airfares on routes between Perth and regional WA, with airfares on sale now for flights commencing July 1, 2022.
Aviair will continue to work with local governments in the coming months on financial agreements for the expansion plans.
Comments attributed to Transport Minister Rita Saffioti:
"This $4 million investment is another way the McGowan Government is taking the lead on increasing access to air services through reduced airfares in regional WA.
"The proposed expansion of inter-regional air services will provide further opportunities for more jobs in regional WA.
"Having larger aircraft capacity on the air routes will not only allow more passengers to use the services but will stimulate demand by reducing airfares.
"This expanded air service will open up new employment, business and leisure opportunities across the Mid-West, Pilbara and Kimberley regions."
Comments attributed to Geraldton MLA Lara Dalton:
"The expansion of the Inter-Regional Flight Network to include Geraldton will allow more regional residents to be able to travel long distances safely between the Mid-West and northern regions to take up FIFO opportunities as well as improve the connectivity for businesses without the need to transit through Perth.
"This is a great opportunity that will create more jobs within our region and keep businesses and families in the Mid-West."
Comments attributed to Pilbara MLA Kevin Michel:
"I know how important it is that our community has access to affordable flights, so the expansion of the Inter-Regional Flight Network is welcome news.
"We are creating more opportunities for people within the Pilbara region."
Comments attributed to Kimberley MLA Divina D'Anna:
"The Inter-Regional Flight Network has been a real game changer for residents in the Kimberley region, because services like these are crucial for jobs, visiting family, business opportunities and to support government and medical services.
"As this network expands, the opportunity for our residents will only increase and I look forward to seeing the positive impacts this will have on our community."
Minister's office - 6552 5500