Regional Express Airlines will prolong the suspension of some of its routes for another seven months, blaming sustained supply chain challenges.
Rex cut seven of its NSW routes in September and suspended another seven from Sydney to Albury, Coffs Harbour, Griffith, Narrandera, Orange, Parkes and Port Macquarie. Flights were due to resume in March, but on Friday the airline said they would not restart until October at the earliest.
“Rex never cancels a flight last minute for expediency or for cash flow purposes or to hoard
airport slots, and this explains why Rex’s cancellation rate is 600 to 1,000 per cent lower than its two larger competitors,” network strategy manager Warrick Lodge said.
Lodge added that Rex was committed to “rebuilding its regional network” and intended to return to its standard schedules from October 27, “subject to the situation improving”.
The airline said it was prolonging route suspensions because supply chain problems were affecting the provision of aircraft spare parts.
Rex had already reduced its services between Sydney and Broken Hill, Melbourne and Wagga Wagga, and Adelaide and Port Lincoln, and cut others including its far north Queensland route between Cairns and Bamaga. It will increase the number of flights between Brisbane and Cairns from March.
There’s only one destination out of the 14 Rex flies to from Sydney which has not been cut or had its services reduced: Dubbo.
Rex and fledgling budget carrier Bonza fly less than five per cent of the Australian public, with the remaining 95 per cent flown by Qantas, its budget subsidiary Jetstar and Qantas’ main rival, Virgin Australia.
Qantas and Virgin have been accused of deliberately scheduling flights they won’t fly to prevent other carriers from accessing them, dubbed “slot hoarding” – a claim the airlines have denied on multiple occasions.
Rex originally said their routes had been suspended due to a global pilot shortage, and accused Qantas of “pillaging” its flight crew.
The affected routes require Saab 340 twin-engine pilots, who were locked in heated pay negotiations with the airline in June last year. Most Rex twin-engine pilots agreed to new pay deal in November.
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Source: Thanks smh.com