Airline denies it would rather fly ‘half empty’ than reduce prices
The high cost of accessing the Pilbara region was a hot topic at last week’s New Pilbara conference, with Pilbara Regional Council chief executive Tony Friday reiterating his calls for a Parliamentary inquiry into prices.
During a tourism panel discussion, Pilbara MLA Brendon Grylls asked panellists why seats to the region were often at “50 per cent capacity”.
Tourism WA commissioner Nathan Harding said the cost came “down to the nature of the difference between the type of airline”.
“I hope there are not any airline people here … generally an airline like Qantas would typically fly an empty seat to maintain the pricing and yielding they have,” he said.
“That’s their business model, whereas an airline like Jetstar doesn’t sell an empty seat and would rather sell it for $10.”
Port Hedland International Airport chief executive Mitchell Cameron disagreed and said the price was determined by the number of people on board.
“If we don’t fly in an aircraft, they will match the price until the people of the Pilbara complain,” he said.
“The bottom line is, if the plane was full, the price would go down.
“It’s just simple maths.”
When questioned by theNorth West Telegraph, a Qantas spokeswoman said the company often had sale fares in regional WA, including in Port Hedland and Karratha.
“We always encourage customers to book in advance, regardless of which route they fly on, to take advantage of the cheaper seats available,” she said.
She said customers were able to get alerts by signing up to a mailing list or by downloading the Qantas smartphone app.