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Extra funds for Regional Express to further boost flights to the bush

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Fresh support from the Federal Government and several states means the key carrier will be able to increase services across its network.

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Regional Express is set to double flights to regional and remote areas after securing additional funding from the Federal Government.

Last week the carrier received a funding lifeline to guarantee flights once or twice a week to “most” of Rex’s regional routes.

Now the airline has confirmed it will be able to operate a minimum of two return services a week to all destinations across its network, with some towns set to receive a third weekly return service.

Deputy chairman John Sharp said the extra flights would connect more regional Australians with capital cities to meet their essential needs.

“Without this intervention, many smaller regional communities would risk not having any air services at all for at least six months,” he said.

States chip in

Rex’s extra flights will be funded by the Commonwealth Grant Agreement through the COVID-19 Regional Airline Network Support program, but three states have committed to pay for further flights.

Rex has signed agreements with Queensland and Western Australia, and a deal with South Australia is expected to be inked in the coming days.

Sharp said with state and Federal funds in hand, Rex will be able to operate 88 weekly return services across Australia.

Dubbo, in western New South Wales, was serviced by 30 Rex flights a week before the pandemic.

Now, the airline will operate three return flights there each week.

The city’s Chamber of Commerce president Matt Wright says the extra flights will allow businesses to try and regain some sense of normality.

“The Sydney-to-Dubbo route is always a busy one, and having that additional timeslot available gives people options,” he said.

“The more regular the flights, the better.

“Confidence and optimism is so important and it’s a positive thing to see a big player like Rex take a big step forward to returning businesses with a sense of normality.”

He said the Government’s support for regional air services through the pandemic would have lasting impacts.

“For pricing reasons it’s so important competition is maintained,” Wright said.

“So it’s great stuff Rex were able to secure this extra funding.”

 

– ABC / Jessie Davies

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