A Rex (Regional Express) aircraft on the tarmac at Sydney Airport, Friday, March 20, 2020. (AAP Image/James Gourley) NO ARCHIVING
A Rex (Regional Express) aircraft on the tarmac at Sydney Airport, Friday, March 20, 2020. (AAP Image/James Gourley) NO ARCHIVING

Rex waits on government funding, reduces flights

THE AIRLINE servicing both Grafton and Lismore airports is waiting on a federal funding application to determine whether or not they can continue flying the route.

Regional Express (Rex) have made application to allow them to continue flying a reduced service of two return flights a week, after they said the NSW state government had not provided assistance.

Rex has communicated, several times in the past two weeks, that the significant drop in passenger numbers means that air services are no longer viable:

Rex’s original plan was to shut down its entire network to conserve cash as otherwise Rex will run out of cash in a matter of weeks.

“Fortunately for regional Australia, the Federal Government has stepped in to provide funding to support one return service a week. Rex has submitted an application today for this funding and the proposed flight schedules for New South Wales,” spokeswoman said.

“If Rex’s application is not successful then Rex will have to suspend services in all states without State Government assistance. The outcome for Federal funding is expected the end of next week and in the meantime Rex will operate schedules that at least match what we have proposed for the State and Federal funding.”

Rex’ Deputy Chairman, the Hon. John Sharp AM apologised that the airline can no longer continue shouldering the burden, saying they were fighting for their own life

“Rex’s first priority is to survive this crisis so that regional and rural communities can count on our air connections to rebuild after the crisis, and long into the future,” he said.

“Rex wishes to once again thank the Deputy Prime Minister, Michael McCormack, and the Morrison Government for their leadership and decisiveness in stepping in so promptly to rescue regional aviation, which is ultimately a state and local Government responsibility.

“Without this immediate intervention, Australia would not have a single regional airline left standing.”

The updated Lismore and Grafton timetable will be limited to one return voyage each on Wednesday and Friday.