"productive" flight support talks

Thursday April 09, 2020

Published by The Border Watch 

Potential State Government economic response to help keep Regional Express in sky.

MEMBER for Mount Gambier Troy Bell says there have been “very productive discussions” about a potential State Government support package for Regional Express (REX) to ensure it keeps flying to the Blue Lake city.

The independent MP said he had been in discussions with State Transport Minister Stephan Knoll about an economic response package after Rex announced it would slash flights to and from Mount Gambier.

Rex’s proposed weekly schedule includes a single weekly return trip to Adelaide and Melbourne, with both flights departing and arriving on a Tuesday.

In a statement released this week, Rex said the scaling back of flights to destinations across the state was due to the South Australian Government’s lack of interest in a partnership approach.

The airline said the schedule was conditional on receiving Federal Government funding and would stop all flights to Mount Gambier if it was not successful.

Mr Bell said although preliminary discussions with the State Government had been positive, he said it was too early to determine what a support package would include and would a minimum service would look like.

“There is a bit more work that needs to be done in that space, but this is really about a partnership between the Commonwealth and state governments, council and regional carriers,” he said.

“There is no doubt regional airlines are extremely important to our community, particularly as we are the largest regional community outside Adelaide, but I also think there needs to be some flexibility in this as well.

“If passenger numbers start increasing earlier than expected, the cost to the taxpayer should be reduced accordingly.