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Qantas gives country and outback a break from fees

June 27, 2019 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Qantas has removed the AUD 99 change fee for bookings made through its discounted fares program, saying the move should provide residents living in regional Australia with greater flexibility and additional savings if their travel plans change.

Qantas launched the discounted fares program in November 2017 in response to community concerns over the cost of air travel in regional cities where residents compete with demand for travel from the resources industry – or live in very remote locations. Residents can access discounts of between 20% and 30% off return fares for travel to their closest capital city.

Residents across the 14 regional cities eligible for the program have booked more than 18,000 return trips, Qantas said yesterday.

Qantas Domestic chief executive, Andrew David, said the removal of the flight change fee was designed to make the discounted fares more accessible for more residents.

“As the national carrier, we know how important accessible and reliable air travel is for communities across regional Australia which is why we offer discounted fares for residents,” he said.

“We recognise that some residents have been reluctant to book these fares in circumstances where they didn’t have a firm return date.

“By removing the flight change fee, we’re eliminating this obstacle and giving customers the flexibility to change their flights at a reduced cost if their travel plans change.

“We’ve seen a strong uptake since we launched the discounted fares, but we’d like to make it easier for even more residents to take advantage of the savings available and expect this change will give them the confidence to do so.

“There are some fundamental realities about the costs of operating regional services that we can’t change, but we’ll continue to listen and respond to community feedback.”

The removal of the change fee took force yesterday for all new return bookings made through the resident fares portal or through local travel agents. Residents who wish to change their flight may need to pay the difference between the fare for the new booking and the original fare (available at a discount when flights are changed through the resident fares portal).

The discounts are available for personal travel to individuals who reside in the following regional ports:

WA – for travel to Perth NT – for travel to Darwin QLD – for travel to Brisbane
Broome Alice Springs Mount Isa (and return travel to Townsville)
Kalgoorlie Yulara (Uluru) Cloncurry (and return travel to Townsville)
Karratha Moranbah
Paraburdoo Longreach
Port Hedland Blackall
Newman Barcaldine

Qantas recently announced a AUD 5 million grants program to support regional communities across the country. Applications are open and interested community groups can apply via qantas.com/regionalgrants

Edited by Peter Needham

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