DOMANII CAMERON, Townsville BulletinSeptember 14, 2017 10:00pm
JETSTAR has refused to provide passenger figures for its Townsville to Bali service despite claims the flights are always full.
A Jetstar spokesman said a full or busy flight didn’t mean the route was profitable.
The airline this week announced it would cancel the service from March 21 next year.
“When services are not in high demand, like our Townsville to Bali flights, airlines will charge a lot less for seats to encourage demand,” he said.
“That means having to sell seats at a loss.”
The spokesman said the Townsville to Bali route had been unprofitable for “some time” and was the worst-performing of the eight routes from Australia to Bali.
A Townsville resident who used the service on Wednesday night sent theBulletin an image of the cabin which showed hundreds of passengers taking their seats.
Mackay resident and Vast Interior owner Kerrie Keech has used the service seven times for work and said only on one occasion had she had a vacant seat near her.
“I really want to push the problem of them heavily discounting these flights as everyone just waits for the sales; if they just kept the fares reasonable all the time people would book and plan ahead,” she said.
“I am willing to pay a fair price when the price is stable.”
Thuringowa MP Aaron Harper said the Jetstar decision went against everything that Townsville was trying to achieve to boost tourism.
“How do we value that (tourism) when we’re taking things away?” he said.
“I’d encourage them to rethink this decision. We have the opportunity to open up to other areas.
“It’s something that we all need to be across as a state government and I’m certainly willing to have those discussions (with government).”
Minister Assisting the Premier on North Queensland Coralee O’Rourke said the State Government knew that securing more direct international flights and regional connections was the best way to grow tourism.
“It is disappointing that Jetstar will not continue flights to Bali in the long term; however, I understand this was a commercial decision for the airline,” she said.
Townsville MP Scott Stewart said the airline needed to back up its data.
“When you talk to (Townsville Airport’s) Kevin Gill you get a set of numbers,” he said.
“I think there is an agenda that they’re not presenting and we want to know what.”
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