Following an emergency Board meeting on Sunday 22 March 2020, Regional Express (Rex) has announced that it will shut down its expansive Regular Public Transport (RPT) air services in all States, except in Queensland. (AAP/Emma Brasier)
Following an emergency Board meeting on Sunday 22 March 2020, Regional Express (Rex) has announced that it will shut down its expansive Regular Public Transport (RPT) air services in all States, except in Queensland. (AAP/Emma Brasier)

Lismore flights cancelled after Rex ceases services

REX Airlines will shut down all flights in Lismore and across Australia, except in Queensland, from April 6 under new restrictions imposed in the wake of COVID-19.

Rex’s Deputy Chairman, the Hon John Sharp AM said, “Rex is supportive of the strong measures taken by the Federal and State Governments such as the shutting of state borders and imposing a lockdown within the states as well as discouraging all non-essential travel.

“Tragically for the airline industry, this means that we can expect the year-on-year reduction of passenger numbers to nosedive to around 80 per cent from the 60 per cent we are experiencing today.

“There is a tipping point in the airline business beyond which it will no longer be sustainable to operate reduced services.”

“We believe that with only 20 per cent of our passenger numbers left we have reached that point and the Rex Group has decided that the quasi suspension of all services at this stage presents the best option to preserve its cash.”

“The Federal Government has acted swiftly by promising a rescue package to the airlines of $715 Million.

“However, the direct benefit to Rex from this package is only $1 Million a month which is grossly insufficient to cover the $10 Million a month we expect to lose running the heavily reduced schedule we announced last week.”

Mr Sharp said a government rescue package would need to be $4.6 billion instead of the $715 Million proposed.

“So far the state governments have not tabled any concrete proposals although their latest decisions of closing the borders and lockdowns will simply further decimate what remains of regional air travellers,” he said.

“Local councils are also a true disappointment with only two councils having proposed any meaningful assistance for Rex.”

“If an assistance package of sufficient magnitude and viability can be negotiated by the end of the week, Rex may be able to reconsider its plans to suspend services. Failure to achieve any traction in this regard will see regional communities lose their air services for many months ahead and even after this is all over, we are afraid that some of the more marginal communities will no longer have an air service.”

Passengers with bookings after the April 6 2020 must wait until after March 27 2020 before writing in via Rex’s website to put their bookings on credit for a future flight. No refunds will be offered as is the standard practice of all airlines during this crisis.