LONDON – Australian carrier, REX, also known as Regional Express, will be once again removing five more regional routes from its service offering.
The Routes Removal…
One of the primary reasons that REX has been recently axing several regional and domestic services throughout Australia is due to what they consider as “predatory” behavior from the country’s flag carrier, Qantas.
The five aforementioned services that are being removed are as follows –
- Bathurst – Removal from June 30.
- Grafton – Removal from June 30.
- Lismore – Removal from June 30.
- Kangaroo Island – Removal from June 30.
- Ballina – Removal from July 2.
All five of these routes are being axed at the same time as REX’s federal government subsidies under the Regional Aviation Network Support (RANS) program ceases.
Commenting on these latest removals, REX’s Deputy Chairman, John Sharp, has said, “REX has faithfully served most of these routes for 20 years, some of them for more than 30 years by REX’s predecessors Kendell and Hazelton.”
“So it is with a really heavy heart that we have to announce the cessation of services in an effort to improve REX’s financial performance.”
Adding on top of this mentioning Qantas’ move on these services, Sharp added:
“Qantas’ well-publicized predatory actions on REX’s regional routes have meant that REX no longer has the ability to cross-subsidize these regional routes.”
In response to Sharp’s claims, a Qantas spokesperson had said that the carrier’s latest claims are “just ridiculous” whilst also saying that “REX’s standard approach whenever it withdraws from a route is to blame Qantas.”
These latest route removals come less than a couple of days after REX had also announced the removal of its Sydney to Canberra service, which once again they have blamed on Qantas for “fare gouging”.
In other words, hiking its prices to an unfair level for customers who travel the busy inter-Australian route.
In brief what happened was Qantas had introduced its Link subsidiary to the route, as well as Virgin Australia, which started back up at the beginning of the year.
Then on top of this, Sydney Airports flight charges from June 1 will also increase, having all essentially run REX out of the route.
On the Sydney to Canberra service ax, Sharp stated, “Unfortunately with the entrance of an additional operator and the very high charges imposed by Sydney Airport from June 1 means that the route is no longer viable for REX. The resources will be diverted to other routes which will provide a better return.”
What does this mean for Australia?
To cut a long story short, it is evident that competition amongst air carriers within Australia is at an all-time high, with not just the airlines but also airports hiking their charges as well.
In a world where we want airfares to come down in price, let alone be driven up in price, alongside the heavy increase in fuel prices as well, it is painting a sore picture for the Australian travel sector.
It will be interesting to see what else unfolds from this and if any other carriers begin to ax services due to high levels of competition in order to maintain their profitability.