- More subsidised flights to be made available between Broome and Derby
- Up to 35 return flights a week could be made available while roads remain cut
- Extra services respond to unprecedented demand for flights to the flood-affected region
- Repairs to Great Northern Highway between Broome and Derby underway
The State Government has increased airfare subsidy support to regional airline operator Aviair, to ensure surging demand can be met for flights between Derby and Broome in the wake of the Kimberley floods caused by ex-Tropical Cyclone Ellie.
With the support of the State Government, Aviair has temporarily increased services on the Broome-Derby route from four return flights per week, to potentially up to 35 per week.
The flights are currently the only means of public transport in and out of Derby and the increased capacity will continue to provide a critical transport link for the community, as well as emergency services and recovery support.
Aviair has relocated pilots and aircraft from Kununurra and Adelaide to support the expanded air services.
The Derby to Broome air route is subsidised by the State Government as part of its commitment to making air travel more affordable and accessible to people living in regional areas. The service was first introduced in August 2021.
Works to repair a severely damaged 10-kilometre section of Great Northern Highway between Broome and Derby at Willare are now well underway.
Two road reconstruction crews are working from either end of the damaged section of the highway and will be putting in place temporary gravel roads to allow for the reconnection between Broome, Derby and Fitzroy Crossing.
It's anticipated the works on the Willare section will take around four weeks to complete, with planning underway for a full road rebuild to begin in the dry season.
Comments attributed to Transport Minister Rita Saffioti:
"Our Government is committed to ensuring that people in the flood-affected communities receive support to recover and rebuild.
"The additional passenger subsidy support we have provided to Aviair allows them to increase the capacity of their services between Broome and Derby. This service is currently the only means of public transport in and out of Derby and therefore a crucial conduit for the delivery of people and supplies needed for the recovery process.
"The State Government has worked closely with Aviair to bring these additional services online in a short timeframe and I'd like to acknowledge the efforts and willingness of all involved to collaborate in this time of crisis to help us ensure the community stays connected."
Comments attributed to Kimberley MLA Divina D'Anna:
"The only way in and out of Derby currently is by air, so the decision to offer more subsidised flights is critical for the local community.
"The temporary increase will be in place while repairs to the Great Northern Highway between Broome and Derby are being delivered. Those works are well underway, and we hope the road will be reconnected within weeks."
Minister's office - 6552 5500