Rex service at risk of folding
CLARENCE Valley residents must fly from Grafton Regional Airport more often or lose flights to and from Sydney, warns Regional Express airlines.
In an open letter to the community, Rex general manager network strategy and sales Warrick Lodge said increasing costs and falling passenger numbers were combining to put the service at risk.
"Rex therefore appeals to the Grafton and Taree communities to significantly increase usage of Rex services in order to sustain the three-return daily services that are allocated the much coveted peak-time slots at Sydney Airport," the letter read.
"If the current trend continues, the Rex board at its May meeting may decide to deploy these resources and slots to another route that is more commercially viable."
Clarence Valley Mayor Richie Williamson made Clarence Valley Council's submission to a State Government inquiry into regional air services last month.
In it Cr Williamson noted factors that made the Rex service less attractive to flyers, including the 11am arrival of the service in Sydney, the length of the flight due to the stopover in Taree and unexpected delays to flights.
The submission also noted the airport is worth between $8 million and $13 million a year to the Valley with 60 to 80 jobs depending on the continuation of the service.
The full text of Rex's letter was published in The Daily Examiner yesterday.