Australian regional airline Rex withdraws five more NSW flights, blames Qantas

Qantas has refuted all the “conspiracy theories” made a regional airline, lashing the remarks as “far-fetched” and “ridiculous”.

Australian carrier Rex has announced the airline has been forced to cut five more regional areas from its services, in order to improve the business’ financial performance.

In doing, Rex lashed fellow Australian airline Qantas for “predatory behaviour” it claims has led to the cut routes. In a sensational response, Qantas has refuted Rex’s “weird conspiracy theories”.

From June 30, regional centers in Bathurst, Grafton, Lismore and Kangaroo Island will no longer be serviced by Rex. Ballina will also be culled from the network from July 2, with two more routes pending further review.

In a statement from the carrier, Rex’s Deputy Chairman, the Hon John Sharp AM blamed competitor airline, Qantas for the termination of the routes.

“It is unfortunate that these regional communities are the collateral damage of Qantas’ bullying and heartless behaviour,” said Mr Sharp.

“This behavior is all the more unconscionable after receiving more than $2 billion in Federal bailouts over the past two years.”

“Qantas’ well-publicized predatory actions on Rex’s regional routes have meant Rex no longer has the ability to cross subsidize these marginal routes.”

Mr Sharp said the decision was made with a “heavy heart,” however it needed to be done in “an effort to improve Rex’s financial performance”.

Qantas hits back at ‘ridiculous’ claims

Responding to the claims, a Qantas spokesperson said Rex’s statement was “just ridiculous”. They said the assertions were an example of the regional career attempting to “cook up more weird conspiracy theories”.

“Rex’s claims against Qantas have become so far-fetched, we had to create a dedicated page on our website to rebut them and update it on a fairly regularly basis,” they said.

“Rex is always looking to blame others when it withdraws from regional routes, but none of its claims stack up to scrutiny.”

Qantas also refuted claims that Rex’s downfall in these regions was a result of the carrier’s predatory behavior.

“Rex has a monopoly on three of these routes it’s abandoning, so if it can’t make them work, it has no-one else to blame but itself,” they said.

“Rex says he doesn’t have the funds to cross subsidize these routes, but he doesn’t have a problem finding money to invest in more aircraft for its capital city 737 operations.

“That must be confusing for regional customers given Rex’s tagline is that their heart is in the country.”

Termination comes as Canberra to Sydney route slashed

Last week, the regional carrier announced they were pulling their Canberra to Sydney route, just one year after launching the service in 2021. The move occurred weeks after Jetstar – a wholly owned subsidiary of the Qantas Group – it would be entering the market, with flights from Melbourne and the Gold Coast.

“Unfortunately with the entrance of an additional operator and the very high charges imposed by Sydney Airport from June 1 means that the route is no longer viable for Rex,” said Mr Sharp.

“The resources will be diverted to other routes which will provide a better return.”

At the time, Sydney Airport also responded to the claims, saying that they made attempts to keep Rex on the Sydney to Canberra route.

“Sydney Airport made a number of attempts to support Rex’s operations on the Sydney-Canberra route, and we were making good progress on coming to an agreement,” the statement read.

“Rex’s suggestion that Sydney Airport is partially responsible for them exiting the route is disappointing and inaccurate.”

The rift between Rex and QantasLink (the airline’s regional branch) have previously come to a head.

In February 2021, QantasLink chief executive officer, John Gissing accused the regional carrier of throwing a “classic Rex tantrum,” after it accused the carrier or predatory business behaviour.

“Rex believes they have an enshrined right to be the only carrier on some regional routes,” said Mr Gissing, as reported by Farm Online.

“Rex’s idea of ​​competition is it’s something that happens to other people.

“It feels like Rex is trying to blame Qantas for other challenges they may be having.”

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