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Town disappointed Qantas scraps direct flights to Brisbane

Published on Wednesday, 14 February 2024 at 9:09:17 AM

The Town of Port Hedland is disappointed Qantas has scrapped direct flights from Port Hedland to Brisbane after only five months.

Qantas confirmed in an email to Mayor Peter Carter that the route will cease from 26 March, having only resumed in November.

At its Ordinary Council Meeting in August, councillors voted to endorse payments to Qantas to incentivise the weekly return flight to Brisbane.

The Town used money from an Upside Sharing Deed, that has been in place with Port Hedland International Airport (PHIA) since 2016, to make payments. The deed is a profit-sharing agreement that provides funding to the Town when passenger numbers exceed a baseline figure.

As part of the deal, payments are only made while the flights are in service. Once they cease, no more payments will be made to Qantas and will only be considered again if the service recommences.

“In real terms, no ratepayer money has been used in the current arrangement to incentivise the return of the Brisbane route,” Mayor Carter said.

“However, it is still incredibly disappointing that Qantas has decided to pull the pin on this service so quickly.”

Mayor Carter said Qantas cited a lack of passengers as the reason the service was being canned.

“It seems a bit disingenuous for Qantas to blame a lack of passenger numbers when the ticket prices were so high – and out of reach for many individuals and families given the current cost-of-living pressures,” Mayor Carter said.

Mayor Carter said the Town supported PHIA’s negotiations with domestic and international carriers to return flights from Hedland to Bali.

“This is a long process and clearly there are a lot of approvals needed from the Federal Government around safety and security, but we remain hopeful once a carrier is confirmed we will be able to move forward,” he said.

“Flights to Bali are clearly something our community desires.”

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