As a regular traveller to Brisbane I welcome the announcement Qantas will introduce a discounted fares scheme to make it easier for residents in Mount Isa and Cloncurry to access more affordable air fares.

From November Qantas will offer up to 30% off for residents to travel between Mount Isa and Brisbane and Townsville, and Cloncurry and Townsville – but not Cloncurry to Brisbane.

The discount will be available for personal travel for residents of Mount Isa and Cloncurry and for return flights only, up to four a year.

Qantas says it chose these markets (and parts of WA)  because residents are competing with a high volume of corporate travel from the resource industry.

Qantas Domestic CEO Andrew David said the economics of air travel to Mount Isa and Cloncurry were impacted by their remoteness, levels of demand and high operating costs.

“The reality is that the per kilometre cost on a small aircraft is significantly higher than a larger aircraft that operates between major cities, because the costs are divided by a much higher number of passengers,” Mr David said.

“These regional routes don’t have the levels of demand needed to sustain a much larger aircraft and we want to maintain the frequency of services.”

The discount will be available on all economy fare classes except for sale fares, for purchase up to and including the day of travel. 

This means that traditionally expensive last minute trips during peak travel times will be more accessible for residents.

The discounted fares scheme will be run as a 12 month trial, during which Qantas will review the uptake and revenue impact with Qantas optimistic it will stimulate additional demand to offset the cost of the scheme.

Discounts will vary from 10-30%, depending on the type of fare purchased. 

The most flexible and higher the fare, the greater the percentage discount for local residents. A red edeal worth $741 will cost $675 (10% off) while a $1213 will cost $987 (20% off).

Qantas has not responded to the North West Star why Cloncurry to Brisbane is not included in the scheme – Derek Barry