In a statement released by Regional Express today, the airline said it was made aware of “malicious, misleading and deceptive,” correspondence circulated by the Australian Federation of Air Pilots (AFAP) to the airline’s members.
The regional airline went on to express its concern about this issue, considering the president of the AFAP is Louise Pole, a pilot with QantasLink, a competitor to Rex.
Rex said that this correspondence was circulated as there are negotiations ongoing in relation to the SAAB Pilot Enterprise Bargaining Agreement between Rex and the AFAP.
The airline said it is disappointing that the AFAP would “manipulate information” provided to the airline during the course of negotiations.
Rex claims that it has often updated the market regarding the impact of Qantas’ “predatory conduct” on regional routes, in contrast to the AFAP’s assertions.
Rex withdrew from 5 regional routes, in addition to another 2 routes announced earlier in May, the regional airline claimed.
“It is unfortunate that these regional communities are the collateral damage of Qantas’ bullying and heartless behaviour,” Rex’s deputy chairman, the Hon John Sharp AM said last week.
“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.”
Qantas responded to these claims by Rex as “false” in a statement on the Qantas website.
“This is just the latest example of Rex blaming Qantas and others for decisions that by its own admission it has made “to look after itself,” the airline wrote in a statement.
A Qantas spokesperson added: “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.”
Rex held a board meeting late last month where it resolved that resources from the terminated routes will be channelled to other regional routes that have strong passenger numbers and growth potential.
The regional airline is currently flying at about 90 per cent of pre-COVID levels, with passenger numbers also at about 90 per cent of pre-COVID levels.
The airline believes it will be reaching over 100 per cent of pre-COVID levels at the start of the new financial year.
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