REXIT: Last plane out of Grafton has gone
REX Airlines are no longer servicing Grafton Regional Airport, with the Grafton to Sydney route terminating today.
According to the Rex Airlines website, there are no available flights from Grafton to Sydney as of today, and the last flight from Grafton to Sydney via Lismore departed at 9am.
Last month the airline announced via a letter to Clarence Valley Council general manager Ashley Lindsay operations from Grafton airport would end on July 3.
A spokeswoman for the airline confirmed to The Daily Examiner that the reason for the cancellation of the route was due to comments made by councillors in a debate over whether they would provide a credit note for the airline.
A report from the general manager on the decision of Rex Airlines to cease its Grafton to Sydney service from July 3 sought to authorise the mayor Jim Simmons to write to the airline apologising for "negative comments" made during debate at its May meeting.
Cr Debrah Novak said it was time Rex "pulled their finger out", an expression the airline said caused offence to Regional Express Holdings executive chairman Lim Kim Hai.
The end of Rex Airlines servicing Grafton comes as the airline announces it has plans to raise $30 million to launch flights from Brisbane to Sydney and Melbourne, putting it in direct competition with Qantas and Virgin.
In an announcement last week, the Rex board stated they had formed the view they could successfully embark on domestic operations, and approved an initiative to raise a minimum of $30 million using up to 10 narrow-body aircraft from March 1, 2021.
Rex deputy chairman John Sharp said their domestic operations will be priced at affordable levels, but also include baggage, on-board meals and pre-assigned seating.
"Rex has the biggest regional network in Australia and we are the only carrier in Australia that has been able to successfully navigate the turmoil and shocks over the last two decades with uninterrupted operational profits since 2003," he said.
"With Rex's expansive regional network of 60 destinations, existing infrastructure in all these capital city airports, superior efficiencies and unbeatable reliability, it will simply be an incremental extension for Rex to embark on domestic operations especially since one out of every ten flights in Australia was already a Rex flight during the pre-COVID days."
Leveraging on Rex's existing infrastructure and overheads, our cost base for the domestic
operation is estimated to be at least 35 per cent below Virgin's Australia's (pre-COVID) with 50 per cent lower additional headcount needed proportionately."
"Booking channels will include both Rex direct and Global Distribution Systems. Lounge membership will be available for subscription.
"It will be a hybrid model that Rex has so successfully pioneered over the last two decades for its regional operations."