Skippers Aviation will continue to operate Perth to Carnarvon/Monkey Mia and northern Goldfields air routes, but it may have to shed 30 jobs after it lost the right to fly from Perth to Albany and Esperance.
Transport Minister Dean Nalder announced the state government had extended Skippers’ current airline arrangements for Carnarvon and northern goldfields towns, Laverton, Leonora, Meekatharra, Mount Magnet and Wiluna until June 27, 2017.
But the state government’s appointment of Regional Express (Rex) to fly from Perth to Albany and Perth to Esperance, announced last week, has had severe repercussions for Skippers.
An email sent by Skippers’ chief pilot, Ian Coxall, to all members of parliament today was particularly scathing of the government’s appointment of Rex.
“With the news that the Liberal party of Western Australia has awarded the RPT services to Esperance and Albany that virgin airlines will withdraw from to an airline owned by Singapore Airlines based in NSW has left me feeling very sold out and disappointed to say the least,” Mr Coxall said in the email.
“I have advised my CEO we should lay off about 30 pilots and cabin attendants immediately and we will still be in a position to service our remaining clients.
“I have advised the young pilot group they will soon be looking for work.”
Member for Albany Peter Watson said there were also concerns that airport security staff in Albany could lose their jobs.
“I’m sure the people of Albany and Esperance would have preferred to see a local WA airline serving their communities in the knowledge it was securing local jobs.
“Skippers is already hurting because of the mining downturn. This is just another kick in the guts for a local company employing local people.”