Gregory MP Lachlan Millar, a long-term advocate of the need for an improved air-fare structure in the west, has a smile a mile wide today as he welcomes the announcement by Qantas that it will introduce its discounted air fares program into western Queensland.
Mr Millar says it’s a win for the residents of Longreach, Blackall and Barcaldine.
“Having access to Qantas’ discounted airfares program would always be a significant win for the west, but it is particularly pleasing when sustained drought has crippled local economies and placed air travel out of the reach of many residents.”
Residents can now access discounts of between 20 and 30 per cent off return fares to Brisbane by booking on-line at Qantas.com/resident fares. These on-line resident fares are in addition to the one-way $176 classic resident fares under the existing program which are available for purchase from Longreach Airport.
“Residents of western Queensland are so remote that driving is out of the question for many, but they must travel to Brisbane for genuine reasons including business, legal, educational and medical reasons.”
“There are also compassionate reasons such as bereavement or providing emergency assistance to family members in south-east Queensland. Often such travel may be at very short notice.”
“I have been making this point to Qantas, both publicly and privately, so I must say thanks for listening and understanding the challenges western Queensland travellers face. I congratulate Qantas on this very humane decision.”
“Unfortunately, I have not been able to get the same interest from the Queensland Transport Minister Mark Bailey.”
“He refuses to allocate any more funding even though these are state government regulated air routes. At the same time, he is happy to allocate $45 million of State Transport funding to build bike paths in inner-city Brisbane. It is very disappointing,” he said.
Mr Millar advised residents to still try to book ahead to ensure they get the best possible prices.