FLIGHT COSTS: Opposition Leader Bill Shorten speaks at a Gladstone town hall event in March.
FLIGHT COSTS: Opposition Leader Bill Shorten speaks at a Gladstone town hall event in March. Matt Taylor GLA200318BILL

Shorten wants meeting with CEOs on regional airfare costs

FEDERAL Opposition Leader Bill Shorten is seeking a meeting with the chief executives of Australia's major airlines to discuss the high cost of airfares in regional Queensland.

Mr Shorten wrote to Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce and Virgin Australia's John Borghetti about the issue in March after it was raised with him during his recent visit to Central Queensland, saying it was "simply not sustainable" for airfares to remain at their current price point.

After receiving replies citing the difficulties of regional aviation, including the high cost of airport usage and changes in some regional markets, he requested an in-person meeting.

"As a regular visitor to Gladstone, I know how much of an issue the cost of airfares are to local residents," Mr Shorten told The Observer.

"We need to make sure we're doing everything possible to put downward pressure on regional Queensland airfares."

Mr Shorten said Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's silence on the issue of regional airfare costs had been "absolutely deafening".

"I encourage him to get up to Gladstone and actually talk to people like I regularly do," he said.

The cheapest Qantas tickets on sale yesterday for a flight to Brisbane this month were $135, while a last-minute ticket to Brisbane on the airline would have set you back $520.

This month's cheapest Alliance flight to Brisbane cost $125 as of yesterday, with a last-minute flight to Brisbane costing passengers $362.


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