Airlines on notice over regional fares
AIRLINES need to drop the secrecy around their regional airfare ticket pricing, which leaves regional Queenslanders paying more for a ticket to Brisbane that international flights.
The Australian Airports Association will make the demand today, saying it "doesn't pass the pub test", and back an inquiry to compel airlines to reveal how their pricing works.
A Senate committee looking into regional air routes earlier this year called for the Productivity Commission to hold a public inquiry on the issue.
AAA boss Caroline Wilkie said she backed the call, saying it was urgently needed to "bring an end to the rip-off".
"People living in regional Queensland should not have to pay more to get to Brisbane than the cost of a flight to South-East Asia or New Zealand," she said.
"Real solutions for regional Australia can only be found when airlines finally lift the veil of secrecy."
She said a discounted return flights from Mt Isa to Brisbane could cost $800, while yesterday return flights to Fiji, Phuket and Aukland were all available for less and a trip to Bali was half the cost.
The senate committee found there was a "lack of transparency" around regional airfares.
It stated that regional airport charges "constitute a reasonably small portion of airfares".
The committee recommended any public inquiry should be given "compulsory information-gathering powers" to be able inform its investigations.
It also found that security screenings, particularly in smaller regional airports, added "a significant cost on each passenger fare".