FLIGHT PRICE SLASH SNUB: Sky-high airfares hurt businesses
HERVEY Bay has missed out on a $10 million flight discount drive from Australia's leading airline.
Despite constant complaints of high fares to and from Brisbane, the Fraser Coast's only domestic airport has been snubbed as Qantas invests in regional and remote Queensland.
Hervey Bay's Chamber of Commerce boss Sandra Holebrook (pictured) says the move will frustrate travelling business professionals.
Ms Holebrook said Bay travellers faced an uncertain and expensive flight schedule.
Yesterday, Qantas announced they would invest $10 million each year in providing flight discounts for residents in 16 towns across Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia.
Mount Isa, Cloncurry, Longreach, Barcaldine and Blackall are part of the initial roll-out but Hervey Bay was left out.
A Qantas spokeswoman said they had no plans to extend the program beyond the towns already listed.
"The discounted fares program applies in selected regional cities where residents compete with a very high proportion of travel from the resources sector travel or are impacted by their remoteness with limited transport options," the spokesman said.
Bay accountant Terry Lynch said costs added up when forced to fly to and from Brisbane for urgent meetings.
Medical professionals who visit the Fraser Coast for appointments have also raised concerns about changing flight times impacting their practices.
Ms Holebrook, who has consistently raised issues about changing flight schedules and pricing, said the airline needed to realise its prices hurt local businesses.
"It makes businesses not as sustainable because (the cost of flights) starts to affect their profits," Ms Holebrook said.
"We have heard the advice to buy ahead or while they're on special but that's not how society lives any more.
"People often don't plan that far ahead and you can't get any specials a month out."
Ms Holebrook said there was "nothing wrong" with airlines wanting to make a profit but they needed to balance out the needs of rural Australia.
She said it was clear the Fraser Coast "was not getting enough support".