Rex pulls out of Merimbula schedule expansion

Regional Express (Rex) has announced it will redeploy the proposed flight schedule improvements for the Merimbula to Sydney route over to the Moruya to Sydney route.

In the announcement Friday morning, Rex also said it will not proceed with plans to expand the Merimbula to Melbourne service.

On August 4, Rex publicly withdrew its offer to expand its air services from Merimbula to both Sydney and Melbourne due to Bega Valley Shire Council (BVSC) “flip flopping” on its position numerous times.

Rex undertook a full review at its recent board meeting and decided to redeploy the aircraft, crew resources and Sydney airport slots that had been set aside for the Merimbula to Sydney route, over to the Moruya to Sydney route.

With effect from Monday, October 30, this will see a new dedicated service from Sydney to Moruya at 8.10am and from Moruya to Sydney at 9.30am. The current morning service that operates from Sydney to Moruya to Merimbula will operate from Sydney to Cooma to Merimbula.

The number of flights between Merimbula and Sydney on Saturday will also be reduced.

“Rex entered into a five-year partnership agreement with the Eurobodalla Shire Council with effect from FY16 so it became the natural choice when additional slots and capacity became available,” Rex’s general manager network strategy and sales Warrick Lodge said.

“Rex has also implemented a new $119 community fare between Moruya and Sydney. The community fare will be made available on the new Moruya flights subject to booking class availability outside of 30 days prior and all remaining unsold seats will be made available one day prior to departure.

“We are confident that with the improved services, additional capacity and introduction of the community fare, that the Moruya to Sydney passenger numbers will flourish.”

‘We’ve heard nothing’

Bega Valley Shire Council general manager Leanne Barnes said the council has heard nothing more from Rex about its decision other than what was on ABC Radio Friday morning.

“They withdrew their proposal in August – that’s their prerogative – but after that, council continued to discuss charges and resolved to keep everything the same,” Ms Barnes told Fairfax on Friday morning.

“Mayor Kristy McBain endeavoured to make contact with Warrick [Lodge] following that decision and left messages on his phone, but we’ve heard nothing back from them other than what was on the ABC. There’s nothing in our system this morning [about this latest media release] either.

“We’ve always said that we want to work closely with Rex and Free Spirit Airlines to promote the Merimbula Airport.”

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