THERE’S no doubt Orange benefits greatly from the service provided by Regional Express (Rex) Airlines.
It’s wonderful for our residents to be able to easily and quickly access Sydney for both work and pleasure, and recent increases in flights between Orange and Sydney have only added to the convenience of the service.
However, let’s not forget it’s a two-way street.The Orange to Sydney route has proved a lucrative one for the airline with ticket prices often outstripping those paid to travel between Sydney and most of Australia’s capital cities.
It’s amazing then to think airline management has rejected Orange City Council’s request to
increase its passenger tax by 45 cents as proposed in Orange City Council’s 2012/13 budget.
The airline wrote to council recently, saying it opposed an increase from $15.50 to $15.95 per passenger, prompting councillors to speak out in defence of the tax.
As councillor Chris Gryllis told the Central Western Daily, the money raised from the tax was essential to maintaining and upgrading the airport.
If Rex is successful in having the increase dropped council will lose up to $28,752 that’s been earmarked for maintenance.
Councillor Reg Kidd says the cost of providing lighting, security and other amenities at the airport should not entirely be borne by Orange ratepayers.
We’re yet to see how far Rex will go in refusing to pay the tax, however as it holds a monopoly in this market it’s in a good position to play hardball.