REX blames feds for falling profits
REGIONAL Express has fired a salvo at the Federal Government blaming a substantial downward revision of its profit forecast on the carbon tax and a "slew of draconian measures".
At its annual general meeting , the airline's chief operating officer Garry Filmer told shareholders the company's pre-tax profit was expected to fall 25 to 35% this financial year, an estimated $5million.
"As foreshadowed in our earlier warnings, the Government's slew of draconian measures at the start of this financial year is having its expected impact on the general economy which in turn is hurting regional aviation badly," Mr Filmer said.
The "draconian measures" included carbon tax, the removal of en-route rebate scheme and additional security costs.
Nationals leader Warren Truss said Rex's revision highlighted "the real cost" of the carbon tax on business.
"Adding a carbon tax as another cost to business, which is already facing significant challenges in a slower market, makes a bad situation worse," he said.
"It becomes a de facto financial penalty for regional communities and further isolates those who can't afford the extra cost of flights.
"The next election will be a referendum on the carbon tax and the coalition if elected, will make the scrapping of (it) the first order of business."
But it's not all doom and gloom for Australia's largest independent regional airline.
In his address to the meeting, Rex's deputy chairman John Sharp said the airline had not only substantially improved on its prior financial year's performance, but had also posted a record profit despite "difficult operating conditions".
He attributed the growth to a turnaround in the performance of its subsidiary airline, Pel-Air, and its strong-earning national pilot academy buoyed by the current world-wide demand for pilots.