North West residents flock to regional capped airfares scheme with figures showing increased uptake

Sam JonesBroome Advertiser
The diverted flight waiting on the runway at Karratha Airport
Camera IconThe diverted flight waiting on the runway at Karratha Airport Credit: Alexander Scott/Pilbara News/RegionalHUB

The success of the Regional Airfare Zone Cap scheme, implemented by the State Government, continues to gain momentum, with more than 150,000 capped airfares utilised within its first year.

The RAZC scheme, a pioneering Australian initiative executed in collaboration with six participating airlines, grants regional residents access to capped airfares for personal travel to Perth. The fares are set at either $199 or $299 one-way when booked as a return fare.

The latest quarterly report reveals that between April and June 2023, over 42,500 capped airfares were used by residents in regional areas.

This indicates a noteworthy five per cent increase compared to the previous quarter, contributing to a total of 151,181 fares used since the scheme’s inception in July 2022.

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Among the cities benefitting from this initiative, Karratha emerged as a frontrunner during the June 2023 quarter, with a remarkable uptake of 11,253 capped airfares. Following closely, Kalgoorlie recorded the second-highest utilization with 5,967 fares, trailed by Port Hedland and Broome, registering 5,926 and 4,371 fares respectively.

Notably, cities such as Geraldton, Broome, and Exmouth experienced substantial growth in demand during the June 2023 quarter, reporting impressive quarterly increases of 30 percent, 27 percent, and 23 percent, respectively.

Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said it had become “abundantly clear” the scheme was helping to alleviate significant costs for regional residents in the face of a spiralling cost-of-living crisis.

“To see more than 150,000 zone cap airfares booked in the first 12 months and consistent growth over the year shows the impact this scheme is having on people’s lives,” she said.

“This scheme is the first of its kind in the country and is one of the key reasons we’ve seen strong growth in regional aviation activity over the past 12 months.

“On average, people are saving around $100 for every capped airfare booked – that’s more money in their pockets at a time when we know cost living pressures are having an impact.”

The State Government is committed to operating the scheme until June 2025, covering a three-year period.

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