Australia’s Rex cuts regional flying by 45 percent

16
March 20, 2020
regional lifeline aid
Photo: Rex

Regional carrier Rex will cut capacity by 45 percent from April 6 and suspend three routes as it battles the slump in demand caused by COViD-19.

Suspended routes are Sydney-Armidale, Sydney-Newcastle and Adelaide-Port-Augusta.

Under review are all of its West Australian services as well as Queensland routes other Cairns-Bamaga.

READ: Even on its darkest day, Qantas prepared to bounce back.

The airline said it would also proceed with announced plans to exit Ballina-Sydney from March 29 and Kangaroo Island-Adelaide from July 1.

Rex general manager network strategy and sales Warrick Lodge described the airline’s operating environment as “extremely fluid’ and said the airline was monitoring the situation closely.

“If the situation worsens we may be forced to further reduce capacity in the interests of maintaining essential regional air services,” he said.

“This capacity reduction alone will not be enough and we have reached out to local councils (airport owners) to seek a reduction in airport charges to keep operating costs to a bare minimum so that the reduced services can be sustainable.”

Lodge said the airline was appreciative of the support by local authorities such as Parkes Shire Council, which proactively approached Rex to grant a total waiver of airport charges during the carrier’s “hour of need”.

“Rex promises to also stand by these local councils in their moment of adversity when Rex is solidly back,” he said.

The regional carrier is already the beneficiary of a $A715m federal government packages that included relief from fees and charges and is now calling for state governments to divert funds from airport infrastructure to support regional carriers.

“All State Governments have substantial budgets for regional airport infrastructure,” Rex deputy chairman John Sharp said.

“Now is the time to divert a portion of this to help out the regional carriers otherwise there will not be any airline to fly to the renovated airports.”

Rex is Australia’s biggest independent regional carrier and has a fleet of 60 Saab 340 aircraft.

Under normal circumstances, it flies about 1500 weekly flights to 60 destinations around Australia.