ALLEGED predatory practices from Qantas have led Rex Airlines to withdraw from five more regional routes, the carrier stated in an update to the Australian Securities Exchange this morning.
The carrier said that it would no longer be servicing Bathurst, Grafton, Lismore, and Kangaroo Island from 30 Jun, as well as Ballina from 02 Jul, as the capital to keep the routes viable dries up with the end of the Federal Government’s Regional Airline Network Support program.
Rex’s Deputy Chairman John Sharp said the decision to withdraw from these long-held services was an emotional but financially necessary one for the airline to undertake.
“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,” he conceded.
Sharp also laid the blame squarely at the feet of Qantas, which he said had used its market-leading position to force Rex from the routes.
“It is unfortunate that regional communities are the collateral damage of Qantas’ bullying and heartless behaviour,” Sharp said.
“This behaviour is all the more unconscionable after receiving over $2 billion in Federal bailouts over the last two years.”
Another two unnamed services are also under review, with Rex confirming it was likely to announce further network updates in the coming months.
The news follows the shock decision last week by Rex to axe its Sydney to Canberra route by the end of this month (TD 24 May), as well as the withdrawal from the Melbourne to Albury route (TD 19 May) after close to 40 years of operation.