Review of Regulated Air Routes in WA
Review of Regulated RPT Air Routes in WA
Following extensive consultation, the Department of Transport has completed the review of regulated regular public transport (RPT) air routes in WA (the Review) which commenced in July 2013.
In July 2015, the State Government endorsed the Review's final report prepared by the Department which outlines the regulatory approach to eight regional air routes in WA beyond 27 February 2016 when current regulatory arrangements between the State Government and airlines cease.
The final report takes into consideration the latest statistics for each route, the present economic conditions specific to each region and the 43 submissions received in response to the position paper, which was released for public comment on 31 July 2014 and closed on 31 October 2014.
The final report also provides details on the State Government's regulatory policy approach to closed charter air services (charter policy).
The regulatory approach for the reviewed RPT routes beyond 27 February 2016 is as follows:
- Continued regulation for five years on the Perth - Albany, Perth - Esperance, Perth - Monkey Mia - Carnarvon and Perth - Derby routes.
- Continued regulation for five years on the Northern Goldfields routes (between Perth and Laverton, Leonora, Meekatharra, Mt Magnet, and Wiluna) with the possibility of establishing new route configurations. Leinster will no longer operate as an RPT airport.
- Reduced regulation for the Perth - Exmouth route allowing other airlines to enter the market.
The Review's final report and some Frequently Asked Questions may be downloaded below.
Competitive tender process
A competitive tender process was undertaken for all air routes that will continue to be regulated beyond February 2016.
Two requests for proposal (DOT401015 and DOT401115) were advertised on 29 July 2015 on Tenders WA for air services between Perth and the regional towns of;
- Carnarvon and Monkey Mia (Shark Bay).
- Northern Goldfields, including the towns of;
- Mount Magnet.
Tender submissions closed on 10 September 2015.
The Perth - Learmonth route will be opened up to competition beyond 27 February 2016 and was not subject to a tender process.
On 13 November 2015, the State Government announced Regional Express (Rex) as the preferred airline for the Perth - Albany and Perth - Esperance air routes. As announced on 9 December 2015, the State Government has signed a deed of agreement with Rex to provide RPT air services on the Albany and Esperance routes for the next five years, commencing on 28 February 2016.
- Flight schedules and ticket bookings to Albany and Esperance are available on the Rex website (see below).
On 18 November 2015, the State Government announced that Skippers Aviation will continue to service the Perth - Carnarvon - Monkey Mia and Perth - Northern Goldfields air routes (which include the towns of Laverton, Leonora, Meekatharra, Mount Magnet and Wiluna) until 27 June 2017.
- Flight schedules and ticket bookings to Perth - Carnarvon - Monkey Mia and Perth - Northern Goldfields air routes are available on the Skippers website (see below).
For more information download the media statements released by the Minister for Transport (dated 13/11/2015, 18/11/2015 and 09/12/2015) and some Frequently Asked Questions below.
The Department of Transport has been exploring options with the aviation industry for the provision of regular public transport (RPT) air services on the Perth - Derby route beyond February 27, 2016 when the current airline's exclusive rights to operate on the route cease.
In the last 12 months patronage on the Derby route has dropped by approximately 50 per cent due to changing economic conditions and the closure of key mining companies in the region, which had significantly underwritten the RPT air services.
At this stage no airline is in a position to operate the service commercially. This means that unless the situation changes there will be no RPT flights on the Perth-Derby route from February 28, 2016. However, the Department is continuing to liaise with industry to explore the potential for an airline to provide commercially sustainable air services later in 2016.
In the meantime, travellers to and from Derby can access RPT air services via Broome.
The Perth - Ravensthorpe air route is not regulated by the Department of Transport. Virgin Australia Regional Airlines (VARA) will continue to provide two RPT flights per week on the route until 27 February 2016 in line with its current deed of agreement for the Perth - Esperance route. Beyond 27 February 2016 the Perth - Ravensthorpe air route will remain unregulated and any airline may make a commercial decision to enter the market at any time.
Airlines make business choices to operate commercially viable routes, taking all relevant factors into account, including demand for travel, costs of operation and business risks. The Department will continue to liaise with the industry to explore the potential for an airline which may provide commercially sustainable air services on the Perth - Ravensthorpe route in the future.