A Regional Express twin turbo propeller light air plane comes in to land. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE
A Regional Express twin turbo propeller light air plane comes in to land. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE

Rex services to take flight after govt intervention

A GOVERNMENT reprieve has revived Regional Express flights to Ballina airport.

Under revised federal grant guidelines, Rex is eligible to receive funding to operate two to three return services a week to all destinations on its network.

Rex will run two return services from Ballina each week, alongside Jetstar which runs two return flights per week from Ballina and Pelican airlines which also runs two return flights via Newcastle.

Rex will increase its return services from Lismore via Grafton to Sydney from two to three per week.

The reprieve comes as Rex declared a renewed interest in flying out of Ballina to Sydney last week, after exiting the route due to competition from Qantas.

Ballina Shire Mayor David Wright said the revival of flights marked a positive milestone for the community and the battle against COVID-19.

"I'm delighted to see more flights into Ballina," Cr Wright said.

"We've always had a good relationship with Rex.

"I think the government helping out is a great thing.

"It gives people a variety, it will hopefully give people different times to fly."

Rex is yet to release its schedule for Ballina airport.

"QantasLink are coming too in May," Cr Wright said.

"But until people are allowed to go on holidays, all airlines will be servicing people in business.

"I should imagine within the next few weeks there will be some easing of social isolation regulations."

The mayor and Rex's deputy chairman John Sharp were both appreciative of government intervention.

"Regional Australia owes the Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack and the Morrison government a great debt of gratitude for providing funding to ensure that it continues to receive minimal essential air links to the capital cities for medical, professional and other essential travel needs," Mr Sharp said.

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



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