Despite demand, Rex flights come at a price

Despite demand, Rex flights come at a price

ONGOING demand from the mining sector will see Regional Express (Rex) Airlines continue to service Orange at a time when regional cities such as Bathurst are fighting to maintain services.

However, despite growing demand for Rex services in Orange, ticket prices will rise from July 1.

Rex management claims tough economic times, soaring fuel prices and the government’s policies on regional aviation, including the introduction of new taxes, will translate to price hikes.

Speaking after the release of Rex’s half-yearly results for July to December 2011, Rex network strategy general manager Warrick Lodge said price increases were inevitable.

“These impacts [including the introduction of the carbon tax] are real and now we have to attempt to pass them on,” he said.

Mr Lodge said Rex was aware ticket price increases could result in a reduction in ticket sales but was left with little choice.

Despite challenging times ahead he confirmed Rex’s commitment to Orange.

“It’s difficult to give certainties in the the aviation industry,” he said.

“[However] We’ve seen a growth in the Orange/Sydney route between July and December by 6 per cent.

“The mining sector has contributed to that.”

Mr Lodge said demand for flights was so high in October and November last year the airline increased daily fights between Orange and Sydney from four to five.

“We responded to demand and saw passenger growth during that period,” he said.

The Orange to Sydney route services more than twice the number of passengers, about 60,000 a year, as the Bathurst to Sydney route.

“I’m not saying [we’ve] got Bathurst on the chopping list,” he said.

However he confirmed the Bathurst service was becoming “increasingly difficult to run”.

Mr Lodge said the airline was working closely with Bathurst City Council to ensure Rex continued to service the city.

The results released this week showed Rex made a before-tax profit of $18.5 million on a turnover of $139 million.

Rex executive chairman Lim Kim Hai said in the absence of a more favourable environment Rex would divert its resources from “marginal regional routes to more lucrative mining charters”.

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