Rex To Exit Five Regional Points

The latest cuts coincide with the ending of an Australian government scheme to support regional routes during the pandemic.

Credit: Rob Finlayson

Australian carrier Rex is making further cuts to its network with the withdrawal of services from five regional destinations across New South Wales (NSW) and South Australia.

Flights from Sydney (SYD) to Bathurst (BHS), Grafton (GFN) and Lismore (LSY), as well as between Adelaide (ADL) and Kangaroo Island (KGC), will cease on June 30, coinciding with the end of the federal government’s Regional Airline Network Support (RANS) program. Service from Sydney to Ballina (BNK) will end two days later.

In addition, Rex said two other NSW regional routes are pending further review.

RANS was launched in March 2020 and has provided support to airlines to maintain a basic level of connectivity across their network of regional routes during COVID-19.

“Rex has faithfully serviced most of these routes for 20 years and some of them for more than 30 years by Rex’s predecessor 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,” deputy chairman John Sharp said.

He added that Qantas’ domestic expansion in markets previously dominated by Rex has meant that the carrier “no longer has the ability to cross subsidize these marginal routes.”

Rex’s remaining regional network will be closely monitored, and further adjustments could be announced in the coming months, the airline said.

Earlier this month, Routes reported that Rex is pulling the plug on flights between Sydney and Australia’s capital Canberra (CBR), blaming competition pressures and higher airport charges. The airline is also axing Albury (ABX)-Melbourne (MEL) on May 29.

According to data provided by OAG Schedules Analyser, Rex currently serves Ballina 6X-weekly and Bathurst 2X-weekly from Sydney, and Kangaroo Island 2X-weekly from Adelaide. A route from Sydney to Lismore via Grafton also operates three times per week.

The removal of the routes means that Bathurst, Grafton and Lismore will be left without scheduled flights.