While most startup airlines enjoy at least a short honeymoon with local press and industry pundits, Michael Jones spent some of his first moments on the job last month as boss of Australia’s newest regional carrier deflecting criticism about his business plan.
Regional Aviation Association of Australia
The global scope of the airline pilot shortage became all too clear to Australia’s Regional Express (Rex) last month, when the Sydney-based Saab 340 operator found itself forced temporarily to suspend service between the Queensland capital and the Snowy Mountains (Cooma). The suspension began November 19 and will last until next May 18, said the airline.
Australian regional airline Regional Express (Rex) announced last month that it will offer a 25-percent reimbursement of training costs to new pilots who agree to stay with the airline for at least two years. The announcement comes in response to a “severe pilot shortage [that] has resulted over the last four months in massive disruption to Rex’s operations,” according to John Sharp, deputy chairman of Regional Express Holdings.
Australia’s Regional Express (Rex) will cease operating into the city of Parkes in response to the local government’s decision to hike passenger taxes by 15 percent. Within days of the September 4 announcement, Parkes Shire Council offered further talks about the taxes, but Rex’s board has declined to reconsider its decision, arguing that it has already had two rounds of negotiations with the local politicians.
The province of Western Australia has granted two airlines monopoly rights over air service to some 10 small communities surrounding Perth. The $45 million contract awards Skywest Airlines coastal routes as far north as Exmouth and southeast to Esperane, and gives Skippers Aviation the rights to inland destinations, namely the gold-mining towns of Meekatharra, Wiluna, Leinster, Laverton, Leonora and Mount Magnet.
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