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Qantas exploiting regional Australia for profit

Isaac Region Mayor Anne Baker says the communities of her region are fed up with being treated as second class by an airline driven only by profit.

Mayor Baker was responding to comments by Qantas CEO Alan Joyce, replying to complaints by Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten about the exorbitant cost of airfares in regional Queensland, particularly the Isaac region.

“Alan Joyce’s comments about Moranbah air services are sadly reflective of an airline that is prepared to exploit rural and regional communities,” she said.

“We are simply fed up with being treated as second-class passengers, whose only purpose is to generate profits for those at the pointy end of the plane.

“Qantas had its roots in Northern Australia, serving the needs of remote areas, but the ‘Spirit of Australia’ appears to have turned its back on the bush. In what reality is it reasonable that the cost of a return flight to Brisbane from Moranbah should be on a par with return flight to Los Angeles.

“It is nothing short of market exploitation and profiteering. And we are not alone, the collective concerns of regional communities have triggered a Federal inquiry.”

Cr Baker said Mr Joyce’s belief that Isaac residents should simply drive to Mackay, Emerald, or even as far as Rockhampton, to access more competitive airfares had exposed the awful truth of Qantaslink’s pricing model.

“In markets where there are multiple carriers servicing a route, such as those Mr Joyce identified, fare pricing is demonstrably more competitive,” she said.

“But in markets where Qantaslink can unscrupulously exploit its monopoly it is a different story. We know this because we used to have more competitive pricing when Moranbah was serviced by both Virgin and Qantaslink.

“Council is calling on Moranbah Airport operator BMA to help restore competition to Moranbah by bringing in another airline urgently. Moranbah has had enough of QantasLink and its ridiculous fares.”

Cr Baker said Council was also looking forward to having its concerns aired as part of the Federal inquiry into regional air services and pricing.