Regional Express (Rex) has extended its community fare scheme to King Island, located off the north-west coast of Tasmania in Bass Strait.
Under the scheme, a number of seats on flights between Melbourne and King Island would be available for sale at $99 one-way until 30 days prior to departure.
Then, within 24 hours of the flight, all remaining unsold seats would be made available as community fares.
Rex general manager for network strategy and sales Warrick Lodge said King Island was the 38th regional centre to be part of the community fare scheme.
“The $99 Rex Community Fare will directly benefit local residents by making air travel more affordable to the socio-economic benefit of King Island,” Lodge said in a statement on Tuesday.
“I would like to thank the King Island Council, under the leadership of Mayor Julie Arnold and newly appointed general manager Greg Alomes, for cooperatively and transparently working with Rex to achieve a mutually beneficial outcome to council and the airline.”
King Island Council Mayor Julie Arnold said the community fare would be a “boon for our community and our tourism market”.
“As an island, access by shipping and air is our number one constraint on growth,” Cr Arnold said in the Rex statement.
“The continuing support from Rex over the last four decades has been a lifeline for us and access to these discounted fares is very much appreciated.”
The launch of the community fare scheme for King Island comes almost a year after the airline and council were in dispute over airport charges.
Rex said in Tuesday’s statement it had reached an agreement with the council on charges at King Island Airport.
King Island Airport has scheduled nonstop flights from three airlines. In addition to Rex’s nonstop flight to Melbourne Tullamarine, King Island Airlines flies to Melbourne Moorabbin and Sharp Airlines serves Burnie–Wynyard, Launceston and Melbourne Essendon.
A recent Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Committee report on regional air services recommended the federal government call on the Productivity Commission to conduct a detailed economic analysis and investigate the feasibility of increasing operational subsidies and introducing price control alternatives to address the situation of high regional fares and other related issues.