REGIONAL Express (Rex) has escalated its public stoush with regional airport operators, announcing it will cut services to King Island and Mildura over increased landing charges.
Having previously accused the King Island Council of “lies deception and incompetence” over its new airport funding scheme (TD 09 Jul), the carrier has now announced it will cut 30% of its flights to the island from Melbourne starting 14 Aug.
“Rex solemnly warned King Island Council that if they did not review their decision to double airport charges that it would result in a degradation of air services to the remote Tasmanian Island,” the carrier said.
“Rex regrets that the current myopic leadership at the local council has resulted in such an outcome but promises that it is open to reviewing the matter when there is a more enlightened leadership in place at the council,” it said.
The airline had previously said the new airport charges would cost it $127,000 and make its service levels unviable.
Rex says it will also cancel or reduce flights to Mildura from Adelaide, Sydney and Broken Hill in response to an increase in airport taxes, with details to be announced later.
It accused the Victorian city’s airport of breaching its commercial agreement and said its decision to raise taxes was “a blatant money grab”.
“The aviation industry is suffering from a crippling global pilot shortage and Rex has very recently announced that it will need to make schedule adjustments to prioritise its scarce resources, with priority given to airports and regional communities that are supportive of, and work in partnership with Rex,” the airline said.