Regional airlines must stay in air

NSW Farmers has backed calls from REX airlines for “urgent action” to help ensure Australia’s regional airlines survive the Coronavirus pandemic.

NSW Farmers President James Jackson said regional air services are vital for farming and rural communities, particularly in relation to accessing health services in larger centres and cities.

“Air services to the far west of the state have only recently been reinstated, cutting travel time significantly and providing another option for visitors to come to the region.”

“Many rural communities already face the challenges of poor and inconsistent voice and data services, loss of hospitals and allied health services, and loss of professional and public services. This makes regional air services all that more important.”

NSW Farmers has welcomed the Federal Government $715 million support package for the domestic airline industry, which does include the waiving of regional aviation security charges and aviation fuel excise.

However, REX announced a trading halt this week and is warning that other regional airlines face a dire situation.

“Farming communities across NSW need a guarantee from Government that these services will keep flying and that the regional workforce that staff and maintain these services have ongoing employment,” Mr Jackson said.

“In addition to essential passenger travel, these regional air services carry business inputs from Sydney and between regional centres and mail that connects isolated communities.”

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