Regional Express commenced its first nonstop service on the Townsville-Mount Isa route on February 1, one month after it suspended services from the Mackay-Townsville route, claiming predatory behaviour by rival QantasLink.
Rex’s GM of network strategy and sales, Warrick Lodge, said, “We have started the direct Mount Isa to Townsville service in response to the persistent and genuine pleas from the local community for an air service to Townsville that is affordable and which has a business-friendly schedule. Rex’s decision to mount the new non-stop services between Mount Isa and Townsville is a perfect illustration of the benefits to be derived from the recent partnership with the Queensland Government.”
In addition to the new daily return non-stop air service, Rex also operates the Queensland government’s Northern 2 route, which operates from Mount Isa to Townsville via Julia Creek, Richmond and Hughenden three times a week. Rex also operates Northern Route 2, which links Townsville with Longreach via Winton twice weekly, with both routes contracted to March 2013.
Rex also previously operated on the Mackay-Townsville route, but withdrew its services on January 1 due to poor community support and high competition with QantasLink. Rex claims that QantasLink added capacity and cut fares in an effort to drive the smaller airline off the route, with Rex referring the issue to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.