The Queensland Government looks at solutions to high priced regional airfares. Pic Mark Cranitch.
The Queensland Government looks at solutions to high priced regional airfares. Pic Mark Cranitch.

New app to help reduce price of regional airfares

CENTRAL Queensland leaders have welcomed the development of a price-tracking tool for regional airfares, to help rural and remote Queensland residents to monitor air travel affordability.

Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said regional airfares were one of the biggest issues raised when visiting regional Queensland.

“When locals told us they wanted to look at price-tracking software, I tasked the Department of Transport and Main Roads to investigate potential solutions,” he said.

TransLink is now developing and will maintain its own, internal cost-monitoring dashboard that will monitor historic trends on key routes across the state.

“Using the dashboard, TransLink will provide regular reports so the public can be better informed on regional airfares,” Mr Bailey said.

The price tracking tool will include all air service routes regulated by the Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR), as well as key unregulated commercial routes.

It will build on the methodology used by the Federal Government’s Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE).

BITRE currently provides high-level historical airfare price tracking data for some Queensland aviation routes, dating back as far as 2010.

Isaac Regional Council mayor Anne Baker.
Isaac Regional Council mayor Anne Baker.

Isaac Regional Council Mayor Anne Baker has welcomed news and hoped the tracker would focus on the higher prices, “which are the real problem for Moranbah and other Queensland regional routes”.

“Anything that shines a spotlight on the high cost of regional airfares is welcome,” she said.

“I hope this monitoring action in future will have the effect of helping reduce the high airfares charged for the Moranbah and other regional Queensland routes.”

Mayor Baker said Moranbah had been one of the most expensive destinations in Queensland to access via aviation.

“There have been times when flying Brisbane to Moranbah cost more than flying Brisbane to Paris,” Mayor Baker said.

“Council aims to attract people to live, work and play in the Isaac Region but the high cost of airfares is a significant barrier to achieving that aim.”

Central Highlands Regional Council Mayor Kerry Hayes said it was vital to use any tools possible to ensure affordable air travel for regional residents.

Central Highlands Regional Council Mayor Kerry Hayes.
Central Highlands Regional Council Mayor Kerry Hayes.

“Our council has actively advocated to any and all our aviation carriers in respect of the value proposition in their regional routes,” he said.

“The impact of COVID-19 on the aviation industry highlights the need for a consistent and collegiate approach with industry and partners to consolidate the network where it is working and resilient.

“Development of price tracking apps to assist users and communities to plan their trips would be beneficial as long as the information is contemporary and up to the minute.”

Mr Bailey said while a price-tracking tool would play an important role, the issue of high regional airfares was a national issue.

“The Palaszczuk Government will always step up to represent the concerns of regional Queensland,” Mr Bailey said.

“We’re taking action in Queensland with the extension of regulated rural air routes contracts and ongoing funding for the local fares scheme, but all levels of government, airlines, airport operators and contractors need to work together to address the issue of high cost regional airfares.”