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Aviair welcomes State Government support for inter-regional flight network expansion

North West aviation company Aviair has welcomed State Budget measures to support the expansion of the Inter Regional Flight Network, currently operating between Karratha, Newman, Port Hedland and Broome.

The expansion of the network will include a new route between Geraldton and Karratha, and will also see the introduction of larger aircraft allowing for the sector fares to be significantly reduced.

The IRFN commenced in August 2019 and has been partially underwritten by the City of Karratha, Shire of East Pilbara, and more recently, the Town of Port Hedland.

The service has also been supported during the COVID-19 pandemic by the Federal Government as part of the Regional Airline Network Support program.

Aviair managing director Michael McConachy said the announcement was a great step forward in the further development of the flight network and had only been made possible by partnerships between State and Local governments, and private enterprise.

“The expanded network will provide increased economic and regional development growth opportunities for each of the ports in the network, and will allow the towns of Geraldton and Broome to be key suppliers of skills and services to the mining powerhouse of the country, the Pilbara region,” he said.

“We are very proud of the development of the IRFN and this will assist Aviair to grow the network in both the number of ports serviced and available capacity within the network.”

Speaking from Geraldton on recently, Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said the expanded air service would help keep airfare costs down, boost flight capacity and stimulate new business opportunities between regions.

“Having larger aircraft capacity on the air routes will not only allow more passengers to use the services but will stimulate demand by reducing airfares,” she said.

“This expanded air service will open up new employment, business and leisure opportunities across the Mid West, Pilbara and Kimberley regions.”

The State Government’s promise to cap regional airfares comes into effect from July 1. Flights to and from Geraldton will be capped at $199 one-way as it is within 1000km of Perth.

The proposed expansion is due to commence in the second quarter of 2023.

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