Cheap deals to take flight

WESTERN Australians should make the most of the cheap airfares on offer to the eastern states while they last because they are unlikely to be repeated for some time.

Qantas and Ansett have dropped the cost of a one-way fare from Perth to Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane to $165.

The fares also allow travellers to fly from Perth to Broome, Cairns, Brisbane and Tasmania and from Perth to Karratha, Ayers Rock, Alice Springs and Adelaide for $110 and to Paraburdoo and Kalgoorlie for $55. The offers expire on October 8.

Both airlines blame softer than expected bookings through the Olympic Games period for the cheaper airfares.

According to the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, competition could help bring WA cheaper airfares on a regular basis.

However, it will be some time before Australia’s two airline newcomers – Virgin Blue and Impulse Airlines – start operating out of WA.

Virgin Blue’s Amanda Bolger said the airline was considering Perth as an option “in 18 months to two years time”.

Impulse marketing manager Adrian Baker said the company was considering a similar timeframe.

Impulse’s fleet of 717s do not have the range to make the flight from Perth to Sydney in one journey.

Centre for Asia-Pacific Aviation manager Peter Harbinson said Perth was an expensive destination for airlines to service because of low passenger volume

He said the airlines would prefer to be operating 767s out of Perth because the seat economics were better, but there was insufficient demand to support it.

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