Cheaper fares will be better for everyone

I have often said that even if Dubbo Council were to build the world’s best airport, it would be pointless if it were to be too expensive for our residents to fly.

We are approaching that analogy now.

While Council, along with higher levels of government have invested and facilitated tens of millions of dollars of investment into the airport, the biggest issue my residents continue to tell me is that airfares to Sydney are just too expensive.

And I agree.

In some cases it can be up to $800 return for a flight to Sydney.  This is hardly a reasonable outcome for anyone on a low or medium income.  What makes matters worse is that there is a clear case where the cost of airfares is hurting our visitor numbers to the city.  It makes the job of attracting tourists to the city to see our fantastic zoo, Gaol and other attractions much harder knowing that Sydneysiders can get to the Gold Coast for around $70.

I welcome the latest moves by Fly Corporate and Pelican to reduce fares on its unique destinations.  As we are all aware we are well serviced by Fly Corporate and Fly Pelican to Brisbane, Newcastle, Canberra and Melbourne.  But the onus now must come to the big boys in the aviation game to follow suite and offer reasonable fares.

I am delighted to see that since my initial criticism of the main airlines, Rex has offered Dubbo to be part of their community fare scheme where fares can be as low as $119 one way to Sydney.  Conditions placed on this is that the ticket must be booked at least one month before or within 24 hours of the flight.  Rex also wants financial incentives from Council as well as being exempt of security screening.

Some of Rex’s demands are able to be met and some are not.  I am however very keen to talk directly with Rex management about a sustainable deal that is beneficial to Dubbo’s ratepayers.

Dubbo has a bright future in aviation.  In 2004 when I first became the chairman of the airport it only had one destination and less than 100,000 passengers a year.  Now we have 210,000 passengers and have destinations to Brisbane, Newcastle, Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne as well as multiple other aviation stakeholders like the RFDS and Rural Fire Service that all have facilities as part of the complex.  Council has invested tens of millions of dollars into the airport to be a first class facility that genuinely reflects Dubbo’s position as capital of Western NSW.

I sincerely believe that a reduction of fare prices to Sydney will positively grow our aviation industry.  Putting it simply, more people will fly, airlines will find that there are less unsold seats and potentially more flights will be able to be scheduled in and out of Dubbo.  If we all play our cards right, everyone can benefit.

Last Edited: 04 Jul 2019

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