Rex has yet again raised the stakes in its campaign to secure more financial aid by claiming that “lives could be lost” if the airline is unable to transport medical tests on selected routes.
In a strongly-worded statement, the business praised Queensland and Western Australia for offering to subsidise essential services, but said, “no other states have shown any interest”.
The business also outlined which basic services (see bottom of page) will continue nationwide under the federal government’s bailout plan to cover one service per week to 138 communities.
Rex has issued a series of dramatic statements over the last few weeks attacking state, local and national government, which Australian Aviation has charted here.
On Monday evening, deputy chairman John Sharp said, “Rex is fully mindful of the horrifying consequences to regional and rural communities like Broken Hill that may face either not having any air services or having a dramatically reduced air service.
“Lives could be lost because medical samples could not be tested in a timely manner or blood could not be transported.
“Rex had been fulfilling this critical and essential community service role in the past two decades without assistance from anyone, and often even losing money on communities with very small passenger numbers, because our heart is in the country and we were profitable enough to do so.
“Rex apologises that it can no longer continue shouldering this burden as we are fighting for our 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.”
Today’s announcement also appeared to confirm Rex will maintain a slightly enhanced schedule for Queensland and Western Australia, stating, “Discussions are very advanced and the new schedules for these two states will be revealed once matters are finalised. No other states have shown any interest.”
In other regions, Rex will fly only those routes covered by the minimum federal agreement, subject to approval.
The business also warned, “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 andfederal funding.”
The airline appeared to shift the blame away from the national administration and towards local authorities.
“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,” said Sharp.
“Without this immediate intervention, Australia would not have a single regional airline left standing.”
However, in its last statement on 31 March, Rex said, “While the federal government has announced several assistance packages for airlines, no concrete details have been forthcoming and more importantly, not a single cent has been disbursed.”
PROPOSED REX WEEKLY RETURN SERVICES
NSW, South Australia, Victoria and Tasmania
(Subject to federal government funding. Details for Western Australia and Queensland will be released once confirmed with respective state government.)
- Adelaide to Broken Hill (Mon)
- Adelaide to Ceduna (Tues)
- Adelaide to Coober Pedy
- Adelaide to Kangaroo Island (Tues)
- Adelaide to Mildura
- Adelaide to Mount Gambier (Tues)
- Adelaide to Port Lincoln (Mon)
- Adelaide to Whyalla (Mon)
- Melbourne to Mildura (Mon)
- Melbourne to Albury / Wagga Wagga* (Mon + Fri)
- Melbourne to Burnie / King Island* (Mon + Fri)
- Melbourne to Merimbula (Tues)
- Melbourne to Mount Gambier (Tues)
- Sydney to Albury (Mon)
- Sydney to Bathurst / Parkes* (Mon + Fri)
- Sydney to Dubbo / Broken Hill* (Mon + Fri)
- Sydney to Grafton / Lismore* (Weds + Fri)
- Sydney to Griffith / Narrandera* (Tues + Thurs)
- Sydney to Moruya / Merimbula* (Tues + Thurs)
- Sydney to Orange (Tues)
- Sydney to Cooma (Snowy Mountains) (Tues)
- Sydney to Wagga Wagga (Mon)
- *Combined services