Regional Express has announced Tuesday that it will shut down its Queensland Regular Public Transport services, with effect from April 1, including the five regulated routes operated under contract with the Queensland Government.
The decisions sees the closure of REX routes in the North West including flights to Bedourie, Birdsville, Boulia, Burketown, Doomadgee, Hughenden, Julia Creek, Karumba, Mount Isa, Mornington Island, Normanton, Richmond and Winton.
The decision is an abrupt turnaround after the airline yesterday welcomed the government's plan to save the regional aviation industry with two new measures.
Under the initiative regional operators can access two funds, the first worth $198 million is to ensure existing Regular Public Transport regional air services can be maintained at a reduced capacity.
The second worth $100 million will help small regional operators overcome the sudden cash crunch brought about by the near drying up of all demand over the last two weeks.
But now Rex said its financial position and cash flow has seen a further sharp degradation due to the spectacular drop of patronage arising from travel being limited to essential travel only, as well as the border control measures implemented across Australia:
While the Federal Government has announced several assistance packages for airlines, no concrete details have been forthcoming and more importantly, not a single cent has been disbursed," the company said.
"Further, the Federal Government is only funding a minimum essential service of one return weekly flight per route, and this reduced schedule approach was rejected by the Queensland State Government."
Rex said it had first requested consideration from the Queensland Government on March 19 and has since then made numerous appeals.
"With cash fast running out and no immediate prospect of a workable solution from the Queensland State Government, Rex has no choice but to declare a Force Majeure event for the Contract and suspend all services on Queensland regulated routes indefinitely until it has the ability to service the contract in a commercially viable manner," it said today,
Affected passengers will have their tickets placed on credit for when services resume.
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