1 May, 2021
The true cost of flying
A SIMPLE flight search shows that an average return flight to Brisbane from Longreach is upwards of $600.
For years locals have complained about the cost of flights outbound from Longreach, but hefty prices come down to the simple fact that there are not enough people travelling out west.
CEO of Qantas Alan Joyce helped shed some light on facts behind the cost of flights.
“Operations on regional aircraft are inherently more expensive than jets, because the smaller aircrafts cost a lot more to operate, as it’s a smaller scale and rural airports, because of the infrastructure, are more expensive,” Mr Joyce said.
“That is just the nature of how these regional operations work, and what we have been trying to do is give back to the community by having residential airfares.
“The ability to have discounts off the published airfares, Longreach is part of that program, so if you register with us, you can have a minimum of 20 per cent off the airfares year-round.”
Last year Qantas lost $2.8 billion dollars, with this year also speculated to be at a similar loss.
“Qantas is not making money in this environment and that shows you that we are trying to do our best to get through the crisis and offer as many local deals as we can to represent those local communities,” said Mr Joyce.
While $99 flights will continue appearing between cities on the eastern coast, there is unlikely to be any further discounts or deals for those living in rural or remote areas.
“We can’t have huge losses on our regional operations because at the moment with no international operations, we are only now just getting our domestic operations back to where they were before COVID,” said Mr Joyce.
“The difference unfortunately is that if we could get the equivalent of the GC [Gold Coast] here which before COVID, had nearly 20 flights,180 seaters were arriving per day.
“If the demand was big enough to justify those bigger planes, then airfares would come down.
“The cost of putting the jet on, if you can fill it, is a lot less, but if you cannot fill the seats, then the turboprops [smaller aircraft] are the only aircraft that really work here.
“Even if there are less seats on a plane, there are still two pilots, still cabin crew, the cost of fuel, airport fees, landing fees and maintenance cost.
“Due to this the costs are disproportionately higher for the passengers, which is just airline economics unfortunately.”
Mr Joyce said the dilemma with further discounted regional operations is that the air service would not be cost effective to run.
“I can guarantee you we are not making huge profits on flights out of Longreach and so if we were to discount the airfares to prices like Sydney to the Gold Coast, then you probably wouldn’t have a service because the economics wouldn’t be there,” said Mr Joyce.
“I think the solution to flight costs is if we can get more and more people to visit Longreach.
“If you can get more people in here then the airfares will start coming down and it will encourage more people to travel,” said Mr Joyce.