Capped-price airfares now open for booking for Kalgoorlie-Boulder residents travelling from July

Headshot of Amber Lilley
Amber LilleyKalgoorlie Miner
WA Labor Member for Kalgoorlie Ali Kent, Premier Mark McGowan, Transport Minister Rita Saffioti and WA Labor Member for Mining and Pastoral Kyle McGinn at Kalgoorlie-Boulder Airport announcing new airfares caps for regional WA.
Camera IconWA Labor Member for Kalgoorlie Ali Kent, Premier Mark McGowan, Transport Minister Rita Saffioti and WA Labor Member for Mining and Pastoral Kyle McGinn at Kalgoorlie-Boulder Airport announcing new airfares caps for regional WA. Credit: Amber Lilley/Kalgoorlie Miner

Kalgoorlie-Boulder locals hoping to fly to Perth from July 1 are now able to book their discounted airfare through the State Government’ regional cap-price scheme.

After years of calls for cheaper airfares for Goldfields locals, the State Government announced their plan to cap airfares at $199 one-way as part of the 2021 State Election campaign.

This plan is now a reality for those living in the region, with flights after June 30 now available to book, with return flights capped at $398, no matter the flight or booking time.

WA Labor Member for Kalgoorlie Ali Kent told the Kalgoorlie Miner this was a game-changer for locals who could find themselves needing to book a last-minute trip to Perth.

“This will be a special thing just for residents. It doesn’t matter if it’s during Race Round, during Diggers & Dealers, or during shutdowns when mining companies are bringing a lot of staff in,” she said.

“For us residents, we will never pay more than that.”

Ms Kent said she checked last week what a last-minute flight cost with a one-way trip costing $682 from Kalgoorlie-Boulder to Perth.

She said the price difference between that and the new $199 one-way flight was “extraordinary” for local residents.

“Sometimes obviously you can get flights that are a bit cheaper if you book in advance and depending on what time of day and things like that,” she said.

“But now you won’t (pay more than that) no matter what time of day you go, doesn’t matter what day you go or just with a moment’s notice.”

Information on how to book through the discounted airfares scheme can be found on the City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder Airport website, on each airline’s website, or through the Department of Transport’s website.

A 2017 State Government inquiry into regional airfares, and a 2020 draft State Aviation Strategy warned the government could intervene if airlines did not keep prices in check.

Five airlines will be involved in the program, with the capped flights available through Qantas, Virgin, Regional Express, Skippers Aviation and Airnorth from July 1.

These airlines will be paid the gap between the usual airfare and the new cap, with the State Government invoiced for that amount, with an allocation of $19.8 million to the program across three years.

Premier Mark McGowan visited Kalgoorlie-Boulder in April with Transport Minister Rita Saffioti to announce the three-year trial that will see airfares capped for regional residents Statewide.

Ms Saffioti said the trial program would provide a guaranteed maximum price on airfares, without the unpredictable fluctuation the market usually saw.

She also confirmed the program would run for the full three years, even if it exceeded that State Budget allocation.

Outside of the Goldfields, flights for regional residents departing from an airport more than 1000km driving distance from Perth will be also be capped.

Those living in places such as Broome, Karratha, Newman, Port Hedland, Exmouth or Kununurra will not pay more than $299 for a one-way flight, when booked as a return flight.

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