Regional Express (Rex) announced yesterday that the airline will be cutting five regional routes and two more are pending further review.
The airline cited its financial performance as the motive for this decision, alongside blaming Qantas’ “predatory behaviour.”
News.com.au reported that the flying kangaroo refuted Rex’s “weird conspiracy theories” in a sensational response.
From the end of next month, Rex will stop operating routes from Bathurst, Grafton, Lismore, and Kangaroo Island, and Ballina flights will terminate on 2 July.
Rex’s deputy chairman, the Hon John Sharp AM, lashed out at Qantas in a statement on behalf of the carrier, blaming them for the termination of the routes.
“It is unfortunate that these regional communities are the collateral damage of Qantas’ bullying and heartless behaviour,” Sharp said.
“This behaviour is all the more unconscionable after receiving more than $2 billion in Federal bailouts over the past two years.
“Qantas’ well-publicised predatory actions on Rex’s regional routes have meant Rex no longer has the ability to cross subsidise these marginal routes.”
A spokesperson from Qantas has responded to Rex’s statement, calling it “just ridiculous”. The person said it was an example of the regional carrier trying to “cook up more weird conspiracy theories,” News reported.
“Rex’s claims against Qantas have become so far-fetched, we had to create a dedicated page on our website to rebut them and update it on a fairly regular basis,” they said.
“Rex is always looking to blame others when it withdraws from regional routes, but none of its claims stack up to scrutiny.”
Qantas denied Rex’s claims that the regional airline’s failure in these regions was due to the flying kangaroo’s predatory behaviour.
“Rex has a monopoly on three of these routes it’s abandoning, so if it can’t make them work, it has no-one else to blame but itself,” Qantas said.
“Rex says it doesn’t have the funds to cross subsidise these routes, but it doesn’t have a problem finding money to invest in more aircraft for its capital city 737 operations.
“That must be confusing for regional customers given Rex’s tagline is that their heart is in the country.”
This news comes on top of Rex’s announcement last week that it would pull its Canberra-Sydney route, only a year after launching the service in 2021.
The news came a few weeks after JetStar announced it would be entering the market, with flights from the Gold Coast and Melbourne.
“Unfortunately with the entrance of an additional operator and the very high charges imposed by Sydney Airport from June 1 means that the route is no longer viable for Rex,” Sharp said.
“The resources will be diverted to other routes which will provide a better return.”