The deadline for submissions in the Senate's regional airfare inquiry is looming, but so far there are no submissions from Gladstone Regional Council or the Australian Airports Association.
The deadline for submissions in the Senate's regional airfare inquiry is looming, but so far there are no submissions from Gladstone Regional Council or the Australian Airports Association. Allan Reinikka

No Gladstone submission in quest for cheaper regional flights

GLADSTONE Airport Corporation has revealed it will not make a submission to the Senate's inquiry into the cost of regional Queensland airfares.

GAC chairman Adrienne Ward said it was up to the Australian Airports Association to make submissions on behalf of airport operators.

"The price of seats on a plane are set by the airlines who own the planes and of course, most people would like flights to be cheaper so we encourage them (the public) to make their own submissions," Ms Ward said.

"AAA is the body that represents airport operators nationally, including GAC ... and make submissions on the behalf of airport operators. Stronger submission, stronger voice".

The Senate's inquiry, initiated on November 16, followed the West Australian Government's lead after rural residents' outrage at regional WA airfare prices.

To read the WA report, go to http://apo.org.au/system/files/121576/apo-nid121576-493281.pdf.

More than 120 submissions in the WA inquiry were received, with many accusing airlines of pricing flights unfairly.

State Katter's Australian Party leader and member for Traeger, Robbie Katter, said "people in regional Queens- land have been experiencing this (overpriced flights) for years".

"I expect we will find something very similar following the inquiry into the cost of regional airfares in Queensland," Mr Katter said.

"The way the major airlines conduct themselves is deplorable and it has a huge impact on the small communities that rely on them.

"The prices are extremely high and the service levels appear to be deteriorating and then they expect people to just trust that they're not ripping us off?"

Complaints regarding the cost of flying to Brisbane from Gladstone are not a new issue.

Last year, airfare prices were brought up at the Meet the Candidates meeting before the state election.

Yesterday, one-way Red -e-deal Qantas flights to Brisbane were $144.

The same route was offered by Virgin Australia (operated by Alliance Airlines) for $139 for a flight booked one week in advance.

"It is doing nothing to promote the regional areas of Queensland as a preferred destination and has a negative impact on tourism," Mr Katter said.

As of yesterday, 24 submissions had been published online.

Nineteen of the existing submissions are from individuals with the remaining five from organisations including the Civil Aviation Safety Authority and the Shire of Broome.

There were no submissions from AAA or Gladstone Regional Council as of yet. The closing date for submissions is February 5.

Council directed questions regarding the inquiry to GAC.

To make a submission before the closing date (February 5) go to https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/OnlineSubmission.

The AAA is the national voice for Australian airports and represents the interests of more than 260 airports and aerodromes across Australia.

It is believed the AAA will make a submission on behalf of regional Queensland airport operators.

The Operation, regulation and funding of air route service delivery to rural regional and remote communities report is being under taken by the Queensland Parliament's Senate Standing Committees on Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport.

It is believed the report will be released on March 30.



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