He is calling on Qantas decision
makers to reciprocate some of the loyalty shown to it in recent years by the
Maranoa Regional Council and the local community.
“One of the keys to our loyalty
has been the ability of our residents to access affordable fares and regular
flights”, the Mayor said.
“Those factors can no longer be
taken for granted in the current environment and in some cases have already
Flights to and from Roma are just
half what they were in the same period last year and the Mayor insists that
should not be a reason to reduce the number of ‘local fares’ and economy seats
on those flights.
“We always anticipated a
reduction in flights as the resource sector wound down their major construction
projects. However, Qantas really should now be working with us to optimise the
current and future air schedules for Roma.”
Cr Loughnan believes the Qantas
economy fares have been all but eliminated.
“Those fares have escalated in
price by about 50% over the past two years so the word ‘economy’ can no longer
be used to describe them. Likewise the ‘residents’ fares have increased in cost
to become pretty close to unaffordable for most, particularly when the option
of a return flight on the same day is rarely achievable.”
The Mayor said his Council and
community had always supported Qantas and recently advocated that the Brisbane
– Roma – Charleville route should remain a State Government regulated air
route. That decision essentially guaranteed Qantas a lucrative monopoly at a
time of great profitability.
The Mayor has called for urgent
discussions and the return of a Qantas regional liaison officer to help work
through some of the issues that are likely to frustrate users of the QantasLink
service over coming weeks and years.
“Given our investment in the Roma
Airport, we really deserve an on-going air service that is going to benefit our
residents and not just those involved in the resource sector.”