Lifeline for air service

THE Busselton-Margaret River air service has been offered a lifeline with an agreement between Transport Minister Murray Criddle and Perth charter company Skippers Aviation.

The new deal comes after Maroomba Airlines pulled out of an arrangement with the Government because the route was unviable.

Skippers Aviation takes over the service from July 31.

“I’m not only pleased that we have been able to cover the impending withdrawal of the Maroomba service but fares will also be reduced to $99 (plus GST) for a full adult one-way fare for both Busselton and Margaret River,” Mr Criddle said.

“The continuation of the service is the result of a cooperative partnership between several key parties, with contributions by the Shires of Busselton and Augusta-Margaret River, Westralia Airports Corporation, the WA Tourism Commission and Transport.”

Mr Criddle said the Shires would also contribute cash and in-kind assistance by waiving landing fees and head taxes and assisting with the ground handling of aircraft.

“It’s particularly satisfying to see local government sharing the responsibility with the State Govern-ment, forming sound partnerships to produce great results.”

The company will operate a seven-seat, twin-engined Cessna 402 aircraft on the route, flying daily from Monday to Friday, and twice a day on Wednesday and Friday.

Maroomba will take its nine-seat King Air off the run on July 28 because it reportedly could not operate the service under the Government subsidy structure.

An average of 5.5 passengers were using the aircraft per trip but the

company advised the Government it needed eight paying passengers per trip to be viable.

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