Rex cuts five regional routes, two more under review

Bathurst, Grafton, Lismore, Kangaroo Island and Ballina will disappear from Rex’s network, with potentially more to follow.

By Matt Lennon, May 30 2022
Rex cuts five regional routes, two more under review

After more than a year under dark clouds, Regional Express confirmed it will axe four regional routes from Sydney and another from Adelaide by the middle of 2022.

Services between Sydney and Bathurst, Lismore (both direct and via Grafton) will cease as of June 30 this year, in line with the cessation of the Federal Government’s Regional Airline Network Support program. Ballina has a slight stay on its execution but will wind up from July 2.

South Australia has also been impacted, with flights between Adelaide and Kangaroo Island also to be dropped.

The move leaves Bathurst, Grafton and Lismore with no scheduled services from any of Australia’s three major airlines. Qantas will become the sole operator of scheduled flights between Kangaroo Island with Adelaide, however Ballina remains served by Qantas, Jetstar, Virgin Australia and FlyPelican.

The latest cuts to the Rex network follows two further withdrawals over the past few weeks, with both Melbourne to Albury and Sydney to Canberra now dead and buried.

It's 'final call' to five regional destinations (red), but with two additions to Rex's route map (green).
It's 'final call' to five regional destinations (red), but with two additions to Rex's route map (green).

Sharks also appear to be circling on a further two NSW regional routes, however in its statement today, Rex didn’t specify which two are in question.

As has become the norm following network cuts by Rex, its Deputy Chairman John Sharp has again wielded his verbal axe in the direction of Qantas, laying the blame squarely at the feet of the Flying Kangaroo.

“Qantas’ well-publicised predatory actions on Rex’s regional routes have meant that Rex no longer has the ability to cross subsidise these marginal routes,” Sharp said.

“It is unfortunate that these regional communities are the collateral damage of Qantas’ bullying and heartless behaviour. This behaviour is all the more unconscionable after receiving over $2 billion in Federal bailouts over the past two years.”

Executive Traveller has approached Qantas for a comment in response.

However, the outlook for Rex is not all doom and gloom. While its Australian network remains widespread, the regional carrier has also recently inked a codeshare partnership with Delta Air Lines to efficiently link travellers connecting in Sydney with flights to Los Angeles.

Rex is also providing a well-priced option on major interstate routes and now links five state and territory capitals and the Gold Coast with its steadily growing fleet of six leased Boeing 737 aircraft.

Also read: First photos: Rex Boeing 737 business class

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

31 Mar 2016

Total posts 26

Less and less of Rex's heart is in the country so it seems...    I thought alliance were going to restart some of the regional routes VA pulled out ... maybe not now? 

XWu
XWu

09 May 2020

Total posts 503

I think REx bottom line of profitability is a practical one.

It there is mone to be made they will do it (as proven by the continuing SYD-DBO route a much as they whinge about the airport security levy)

Honestly most regional airlines fold due to ridership and profits viability, no matter how good they are as corporate support of regional Australia so if no government support is forthcoming  with no evidence of future growth why should they do it?

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 1438

Link has some opportunities and some juggling as well, but it is more central west to Brisbane and Melbourne but their Sydney flights have new threats and opportunities especially after Qantas moved into a couple of them.

RE Rex pulling out of KI, they actually planned on pulling out early last year however stayed an extra year after the government subsidy was in place. They had reduced services down to 2 return services a week at one point. QantasLink had a much more substantial schedule. First announced in Feb last year, they then planned on pulling out at the end of December 2020 once the government assistance ended but ended up sticking around a little longer.

XWu
XWu

09 May 2020

Total posts 503

I tot TMW requires airport security for all pax?

QF

11 Jul 2014

Total posts 786

In the old days as a kid we called it the milk run, one plane a Fokker 50 would take off from Rockhampton, land in Gladstone, Bundaberg, Maryborough and then land in Brisbane. If we where in Rockhampton we would get the 717?/ 727?  direct to Brisbane.  Surely that would work again, even if it was just 3 services a week Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

25 Jul 2011

Total posts 17

Hey Matt,

The map seems to indicate that Sydney-Cooma has also been axed? I didn't see that in the press release?

C44
C44

15 Sep 2021

Total posts 6

So it’s OK to gouge regional ports as long as they cross subsidise other regional ports, once competition comes along and you have to offer reasonable air fares you throw your toys out of the sandpit and cry foul.  

Let’s face it Rex does not understand competition. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

31 Jan 2016

Total posts 84

Let's be honest the odd prop falling off and the occasional engine fire have not inspired the travelling public, and no matter what people say the Saab's are not a D400.

The Hazelton, Kendall, Ansett(?) offering was ok 20+ years ago and I was welded to the rural link with their founding fathers, but time marches on, but not REX still doggedly saying no to screening and forcing connecting travelers to go back through security when they arrive in SYD, MEL etc if they have forward flights. 

XWu
XWu

09 May 2020

Total posts 503

@Clancy

You do realise that if the regional airports have security, the council will bill that to the airlines and the airlines will pass on the costs to the pax. 

While REx’s pricing is not cheap, it is ultimately a commercial company with shareholders who hold them accountable, hence naturally while they want to provide a service to regional centres, they would not do so at a loss for long periods. 

Hence the company will only provide unprofitable routes with either government or council financial support. 

Until recently with the revised federal rules on security screening based on plane weight/size, I did recall as a pax some Qantas flights from regional centres (with no screenings) I also used to exit the airport and re enter via security gates if transit via SYD. 

Frankly it was a lot faster for me to get out of the airport if my final destination is SYD, walking straight to the luggage carousel without having to negotiate the stairs or crowds at the gate. 

So not having security screening when departing from regional airport can be a convenient thing

XWu
XWu

09 May 2020

Total posts 503

The impact of REx axing the MEL-ABX (Albury) route on medical services is in the ABC news today.

QF’s response to the blame game is thought provoking though, if the viability of the route is that affected by a once daily service 6 times a week.


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