“Suck it up” is the message from Qantas when it comes to the high cost of airfares on North West Queensland routes.
When asked by the North West Star why it was often cheaper to fly internationally from the big cities than fly to Mount Isa or Cloncurry, the company hid behind its usual range of excuses with no plans to offer any further relief other than the already announced resident’s rates fares which will only provide substantial discounts on the high end full fares.
Claiming they knew how important accessible air travel is for residents in regional cities and how frustrating it is for residents when fares for travel can be more expensive than longer routes, Qantas said this issue was common to all airlines.
“The fact is that the closer you book to the date of travel, the higher the fare is likely to be,” the airline said in a statement to the North West Star.
“Snapshot comparisons of certain fares on certain days tend to overlook this fact.”
The airline said it was also not accurate to simply use distance as a factor in the determination of air fare pricing.
“There are a number of factors that contribute to how airlines determine fare pricing including airport charges for landing and security fees, aircraft type, competitor activity and demand,” the airline said.
“Economies of scale mean that the per kilometre cost on a small aircraft is significantly higher than a larger aircraft that operates between major cities, because the costs are divided by a much higher number of passengers.
“These regional routes don’t have the levels of demand needed to sustain a much larger aircraft and we want to maintain the frequency of services.”
The airline said these dynamics are true for regional routes across Australia as well as domestic markets overseas, and was exacerbated during peak times like school holidays and peak days of the week, simply because of demand.
“Regardless of these reasons, we know the higher relative costs can be frustrating for residents when they need to travel, especially at short notice,” the company said.
“The discounted fares scheme for residents is designed to help offset some of these forces that can push fares up on some flights levels that become unaffordable.”
The federal government has announced an inquiry into the high cost of regional air travel.
The story Qantas will offer no relief beyond residents rates fares first appeared on North Queensland Register.