REX to face competition in Lismore
By HELEN JACK
REGIONAL Express airline and Lismore City Council's success in increasing passenger numbers at Lismore Regional Airport has opened up an opportunity for another airline to begin operations next year.
REX managing director Geoff Breust said a licence was granted to REX by the NSW Government in 2003 to be the sole operator from Lismore Airport.
"At that time there were 41,000 passengers per year arriving and departing from Lismore," he said.
"Since then we have increased passenger numbers to nearly 66,000."
As a result, the State Government will deregulate Lismore Airport removing its sole operator status.
The threshold for such a decision stands at 50,000 passenger movements.
When REX's five-year licence falls due next year, more than one airline will be granted use of the airport.
Mr Bruest said REX's approach to its sole operator routes, which include Tamworth and Port Macquarie, is the same as on its multiple operator routes such as Ballina, Coffs Harbour and Dubbo.
"We work hard to maintain our cost structure and to increase our efficiency so we can offer lower fares," he said.
"Our average fare today is 20 per cent lower than four years ago.
"Lismore is one community we service where we have had an effective partnership with Council from the beginning.
"We won't stop operating to Lismore ? we have done a lot of work and we will continue."