Geraldton airport opened to competition

GARY WARNER

A Qantas plane landed at Geraldton Airport yesterday, shortly after State Transport Minister Troy Buswell announced the deregulation of air services to Geraldton.

Deregulation had been expected ever since a review of air services in Western Australia began 18 months ago.

“Competition is good for business and good for consumers,” said Mr Buswell, whose other duty yesterday was to officially open a new security lounge, part of a $3 million upgrade of facilities at the airport.

Deregulation was widely expected to open the way for Qantas to commence a Geraldton-Perth service through its regional airline, QantasLink, and the minister expressed confidence in that happening.

“There were delays in finalising that because of complexities in unbundling the previously protected routes of Geraldton, Kalbarri, Monkey Mia and Carnarvon,” he said.

While the last three routes will be serviced by Skippers Aviation, the Perth to Exmouth route will be serviced from March 31 by QantasLink.

Qantas regional general manager for WA, Ian Gay, said a Geraldton service was not yet definite.

“We welcome deregulation of the Perth-Geraldton route and will now assess options around a possible future operation to Geraldton,” Mr Gay said.

City of Geraldton-Greenough mayor Ian Carpenter said the council would be keen to negotiate use of the airport facilities by Qantas.

GARY WARNER