28 November 2014 – David Eyre
Virgin Australia Regional Airlines will cut the number of flights between Perth and Albany, Busselton, Esperance and Ravensthorpe from 5 December 2014.
The carrier will eliminate 11 out of the current 40 flights per week, a move which has been criticised as a blow to business and tourism.
The new schedule reduce Albany services from 20 flights per week to 15 and Esperance flights from 18 to 13 per week.
These routes are regulated by the WA Department of Transport, to ensure their commercial viability.
Industry associations have noted that at the end of the consultation regarding the proposed service reductions, the State Government said that they did not support it, but have now reversed the decision.
Transport Minister Dean Nalder said that the department had ensured that the service reductions were not as severe as Virgin had originally planned.
The City of Albany said it would support a reduction in the number of flights only if the overall passenger numbers remained the same, such as switching some flights to Fokker 100 jet aircraft, instead of Fokker 50 turboprops.