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.
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