PERTH, AAP – In a national first, Western Australia has capped the cost of airfares for people living in regional areas.

The Labor government says fares will be capped for residents travelling to and from Perth from July 1.

Under the plan, people travelling from an airport within 1000km driving distance from the state capital – centres including Geraldton, Kalgoorlie, Carnarvon and Esperance – will pay no more than $398 return, or $199 each way.

Those living in places more than 1000km driving distance from Perth – including Broome, Karratha, Port Headland and Kununurra – will pay no more than $598 return, or $299 each way.

The scheme – billed as the first of its kind in Australia – will cost the state government $19.8 million over the next three years.

“This will make a huge difference for those residents needing to travel to and from Perth, whether that be for medical or personal appointments or to visit family and friends,” Premier Mark McGowan said on Thursday.

“Our plan will ease the burden of regional travel costs by making sure that regional Western Australians are able to get to and from Perth … at a fair price.”

Tickets for travel from July 1 go on sale on Thursday.

The scheme has been set up in partnership with five airlines: Airnorth, Qantas, Rex Airlines, Skippers Aviation and Virgin.

It builds on each of those airlines’ resident fare programs by reducing prices to the zone cap fares of $199 or $299 one way.

The cost of a one-way commercial flight from Broome to Perth can be as high as $699 and as low as $229 depending on travel dates and ticketing conditions.