Living in a remote Australian community, residents put up with a great deal of inconvenience and expense. In Gove, we generally agree that this is the price of living in paradise. To say that traveling by air to visit family members is costly is an understatement, to say the least. The prohibitive cost of using Airnorth’s service is having an impact on separated families. One shudders to think how this could be affecting the long-term economic prosperity of the East Arnhem region.
A reliable and affordable air service for Gove is essential for the development and sustainability of the entire region.
Where Is Gove?
Gove (also known as Nhulunbuy), is located in the Top End of the Northern Territory and is remote by any standards. The only road out of town is the 663 km, Central Arnhem Road which is unsealed and impassable, even with a four-wheel drive, for months at a time each year during the wet season.
Therefore, we are reliant upon affordable and reliable air transport!
On 29 November 2013 Rio Tinto announced the closure of the alumina refinery (but not the bauxite mine) by July 2014 with the loss of 1,100 jobs, or almost 25% of the town’s population. The refinery ceased production in May 2014. The closure led Qantas to suspend flights on the route in August 2014, thus giving Airnorth a monopoly on the route.
Gove is fighting for survival!
Insult to Injury
Airnorth tickets between Gove and Darwin can be in excess of $800 for a one-hour flight! If you had booked a one-way flight on Air North’s website on 14 December 2017 to travel from Cairns to Gove on the 27 Jan 2018, you would pay $319.00, however the person sitting next to you, travelling all the way to Darwin would only have paid $236.40 for the entire trip.
We pay 35% more than the person sitting next to us to fly a shorter distance.
Former Airnorth CEO Michael Bridge said he was aware of passengers who simply got off at the flight’s stopover in Gove, to save money and threatened to ban them from flying Airnorth.
That’s a potent threat to a Gove Local!
Quality of Service
Lines of communication to Airnorth ‘customer service’ remain largely unanswered. A litany of delayed and cancelled and flights with little or no warning has made Airnorth the local in-joke and byword for unreliability.
However, we all know that the joke’s on us!
The Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee will report by 30 March 2018 on their inquiry on operation, regulation and funding of air route service delivery to rural, regional and remote communities. Submissions should be received by 5 February 2018. Please read more about the inquiry on Gove Online community news:
What We Need From the Senate
We the undersigned, being current and former, Gove residents, request Senator Malarndirri McCarthy, Senator for the Northern Territory, present this petition to the inquiry and tell them that:
“GOVE RESIDENTS EXPECT A FAIR DEAL. WE NEED TO BE ABLE TO SEE OUR FAMILIES, NOT ONLY FOR CHRISTMAS BUT ALL YEAR ROUND!”
Please sign our petition and leave comments below.