Geoff Helisma, Clarence Valley Independent
Federal Member for Page Kevin Hogan says he believes that the Clarence Valley Regional and Lismore airports are “still commercially viable”.
The Independent emailed the following enquiry to Mr Hogan’s office, asking for comment about Rex withdrawing from its Grafton and Lismore routes.
Clarence Valley Councillors decided at a recent meeting: ‘Council write to the Deputy Prime Minister the Hon Michael McCormack and the Member for Page Kevin Hogan seeking their support and requesting the Federal Government extend their financial support for regional airline services via the RANS program for another 12 months to 31 March 2022.’
Previously, you have stated that you “left no stone unturned in ensuring Rex can resume flights for the sake of our local community”, when announcing Rex would resume flights on August 17, 2020.
Will you take any action in regard to CVC asking you to ‘request the government to extend its financial support’ for Rex to continue its services to Grafton and Lismore via ‘the RANS program for another 12 months to 31 March 2022’?
If so, what would that entail?
REX has cut five of its services across the country, directly affecting almost 100,000 users of the airline (by REX’s own account), and you have also stated that you are a “frequent flier with REX” and described the company as a “great regional airline”; what is your opinion now that Rex has withdrawn five of its regional services, including the Sydney-Lismore-Grafton service?
Mr Hogan’s office replied with the following statement: “It appears Rex has made this decision to divert resources from a number of services, including Lismore and Grafton, to compete against Qantas on the Sydney to Melbourne route amongst others.
“I will be working with councils to attract a new airline to these airports. Whilst the growing success of Ballina and Coffs has put pressure on Lismore and Grafton airports, we believe they are still commercially viable.
“Federal Government support through the Regional Airline Network Support (RANS) program is regularly reviewed and extended. There is a review of this program underway right now.”
This article appeared in the Clarence Valley Independent, 3 March 2021.