BOTH the Mount Isa mayor and State MP are sceptical of the benefits of Qantas’s airfare subsidy that is supposed be on offer from November.
They describe the timing as “maybe suspicious” and as “a marketing ploy”.
North West Queensland residents seek further information about the subsidy of between 10 to 30 per cent for airfares to Townsville and Brisbane.
A Qantas spokeswoman said on Friday that the airline will create a special website for residents and will be signed up for Frequent Flyer for free.
Customers could earn flight points but the data would be useful for Qantas to determine who were residents.
The spokeswoman said further detail on the subsidy will “hopefully” be announced in a fortnight.
State MP Rob Katter said the timing of the subsidy was “fairly curious and maybe suspicious”. He believed a Deloitte report about the flights has reached the Deputy Premier’s office.
Deputy Premier Jackie Trad’s office did not confirm the existence of the report.
Mr Katter had not seen the report’s contents and he knew little about it except that there was acknowledgement of the costs.
“There are recommendations to make some changes...(Qantas) lead the market so other airlines follow them with price. They seem to have a clever response and tricky way of getting out of just about any scenario we can come up with to moderate these fares,” he said.
The subsidy announcement explained that Cloncurry and Mount Isa residents would receive a subsidy travelling to Townsville while Mount Isa would benefit travelling to Brisbane.
Cloncurry mayor Greg Campbell wanted further clarification on whether residents would receive the subsidy traveling from Mount Isa to Brisbane. He had difficulty receiving that clarification.
Mount Isa mayor Joyce McCulloch, between numerous government meetings in Brisbane on Thursday, said the subsidy was a 12 month trial and was “a marketing ploy”.
“There was a lot of negativity around Qantas at the time and that was how they responded,” she said.
“My feedback I am receiving from the community is it is not making much of a difference to the impact on price,” she said.
“So if the community is not feeling they are gaining from it, then what’s the point of it?
“It’s still got to be on flights that you plan for...you can’t often plan for things that pop up, particularly for family issues you have to respond to ASAP. I don’t think it’s making a big difference in anybody’s world to be honest.”