Rex ‘a step closer’ to servicing Geraldton

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Geoff VivianGeraldton Guardian
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Regional Express Airlines at Albany Airport.
Camera IconRegional Express Airlines at Albany Airport. Credit: Laurie Benson/Albany Advertiser

Rex Airlines has expressed an interest in servicing the Perth to Geraldton passenger route, according to Member for Geraldton Ian Blayney.

Mr Blayney said Rex approached him following questions he put to WA Transport minister Rita Saffioti in Parliament last week.

“They suggested that air services to the region would be considered if they received a proposal from the City of Greater Geraldton,” he said.

“I have contacted the City and look forward to working with them to ensure a comprehensive proposal is put forward for Rex to consider.”

Geraldton’s Mayor said he understood Rex had only been interested in a “regulated route”, meaning it did not have to compete with another airline.

“We have been in discussion with Rex on and off for some time now,” Shane Van Styn said.

“We are not aware of the State’s position on re-regulating the air route again.

“Early conversations with Rex indicate they are keen to service Geraldton if it was a regulated air route.”

Qantas currently provides four return services to Perth weekly, and intends to increase this to five on September 24.

Mr Blayney told Parliament that Rex services for Albany and Esperance had increased to “upwards of a dozen flights a week” with WA Government assistance.

He asked when the Minister was going to provide the same level of advocacy for Geraldton.

Rex has been contacted for comment but declined to say whether or not it was prepared to share the route with Qantas.

The airline issued a statement on Tuesday saying it was keen to take on former Virgin routes to regional cities.

Rex general manager Warrick Lodge said the airline was prepared to service regional communities at “break even” levels if necessary.

“When Virgin Australia withdrew from the monopoly routes of Perth-Esperance and Perth-Albany in 2016 due to heavy losses on these routes, the Western Australian Government turned to Rex to pick up the pieces,” he said.

“Today, these same routes have bounced back the fastest in the whole of WA.”

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