Regional route cuts: Rex blames Qantas for ‘pillaging its pilots’

Raimund Stehmann (GFDL or GFDL), via Wikimedia Commons

Australian regional carrier Rex has announced further cuts to its regional network. This becomes the latest cutback in the post-pandemic period, which has seen the airline proactively cutting non-performing regional routes.

The airline attributes these latest cuts to major players in the industry, with Qantas drawing the lion’s share of the blame. Rex claims that these cuts are the result to what it perceives as the “pillaging of its pilot group.”

Outlining the Latest Cuts

Effective from October 30th, Rex is implementing reductions that exclusively affect the regional routes serviced by its Saab 340 turboprop aircraft.

This decision has been met with both curiosity and concern, especially among those who rely on these routes for their travel needs. Let’s take a closer look at the affected routes:

  1. Sydney-Albury
  2. Sydney-Coffs Harbour
  3. Sydney-Griffith
  4. Sydney-Narrandera
  5. Sydney-Orange
  6. Sydney-Parkes
  7. Sydney-Port Macquarie

In addition to these routes, Rex is also temporarily suspending services between Sydney and Armidale. This suspension is expected to last until at least March 30, 2024.

As well as the route cuts ex-Sydney, Rex will also withdraw from the Cairns-Bamaga route in Far North Queensland.


Chris Finney via Wikimedia Commons

Continuation of Previous Reductions

It should be noted that this recent announcement follows a series of service reductions on seven other regional routes that Rex had previously announced on April 21, 2023.

These reductions are set to continue for at least another five months. Additionally, the suspension of flights between Adelaide and Mildura will also persist during this period.

Rex Approach to Service Reductions

In explaining the rationale behind these actions, Rex’s General Manager of Network Strategy, Warrick Lodge, stated, “Unlike other carriers, we prefer to reduce the scheduled services so that our passengers can be assured of fewer disruptions and more reliable services.”

This approach raises questions about the consistency and dependability of regional travel. While fewer disruptions are undoubtedly a positive aspect for passengers, the sustainability of this strategy in the long term raises some questions.

Return to standard scheduling – 2024

Mr. Lodge added, “We intend to return to the standard flight schedules from March 31, 2024 – however, this is subject to the situation improving.”

The uncertainty surrounding the future of these routes and the fate of Rex’s regional network leaves many passengers in limbo.

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By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 3 Min Read
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