After years of argy bargy between REX (Regional Express airlines) and Clarence Valley Council (CVC), the airline has finally taken its boarding pass and flown the coup – by not accepting CVC’s ‘apology’, “expressing regret for any perceptions of negativity causing offence made towards REX at Council’s May meeting”.
Mayor Jim Simmons said that REX had responded but was “not going to reconsider” reinstating the Grafton service, which ended on July 3.
“It was to the effect that they wanted an apology, particularly from Cr Novak,” he said.
“The [June meeting] resolution wasn’t quite what they wanted.”
Meanwhile, CVC’s general manager, Ashley Lindsay, has been communicating with Fly Pelican, which wrote to CVC during the dispute with REX to express an interest in servicing the valley.
“I have made contact with Fly Pelican CEO Marty Hawley and we have had discussions about Fly Pelican providing a couple of flights a week Sydney/Grafton/Sydney,” Mr Lindsay wrote in an emailed response to the Independent’s enquiry.
“At this stage most regional airline services are subsidised by the Federal & State Government.
“If Fly Pelican were to commence flights to Grafton from Sydney, I understand this service would not qualify for the Federal/State Government subsidies, as it would be classed as a new service.
“I will be making contact with the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications this week to determine whether it’s possible for subsidies to be provided.”
Fly Pelican had not responded to the Independent’s enquiry before the paper’s editorial deadline.
Meanwhile, REX is acting on its plan to “embark on domestic operations”.
“Following the announcement to the ASX on 13 May 2020 of the Regional Express Group’s intentions to explore the feasibility of commencing domestic operations in Australia, Regional Express (Rex) has been engaged in confidential exploratory discussions with various parties to assess the availability of funding for starting up domestic operations,” a REX media release stated.
“The Rex Board has now formed the view that Rex could successfully embark on domestic operations. Consequently, the Board has approved an initiative to raise a minimum of AUD$30 Million, which the Board now believes will be all that is needed for the launch of limited domestic operations, through one or more of the following avenues: sale-and-lease-back arrangement, equity injection and convertible notes.”