Rex rejects regional scheme

Regional Express is backing the government's plan to have two people in the cockpit alt all times.
Regional Express is backing the government's plan to have two people in the cockpit alt all times.

REGIONAL Express airlines has shot down a Federal Government proposal to help it fund low-volume passenger routes.

The government has re-introduced the Enroute Charges Payment Scheme that allows an airline to apply for assistance for routes carrying up to 15,000 passengers.

Federal Member for Page Kevin Hogan said opening applications for the scheme this month would allow airlines to claim for eligible services flown since July 1.

"We are fulfilling our election promise by introducing the new scheme to support our regional and remote communities," Mr Hogan said.

But Rex is not sure this will apply to the Grafton to Sydney service.

A spokewoman for the company said it was making inquiries with the government to see if the scheme covered services such as Grafton-Taree-Sydney.

"The stopover is a complicating factor for us, we're not even sure it will apply to Grafton," she said.

Rex was unhappy from the start with round two of the Enroute Charges Payment Scheme.

Rex chief operating officer Neville Howell said the new scheme includes $1 million funding for eligible regional passenger services on low volume and new routes with no more than 15,000 passengers a year.

Mr Howell was disappointed with the structure of the scheme.

"The amount allocated by the Federal Government to the new Enroute Charges Payment Scheme represents only 15% of the assistance given under the previous scheme," Mr Howell said.

"The low threshold of 15,000 passengers per annum means that most of Australia's regional routes are not eligible for the rebate.

"It is disappointing that the government is doing so little to help regional aviation when 16 regional airlines have collapsed in the last 12 years."

Topics:  airline federal government regional express rex

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