REGIONAL Express (Rex) has slammed the service and continual cancellations of its “irresponsible” competitor Brindabella Airlines, claiming the carrier was only able to attract about two passengers per Orange flight.
Rex hit back at its competitor, after Brindabella’s commercial manager James Blake suggested Rex had raised fares since Monday when Brindabella suspended its Orange/Sydney service.
A Rex spokeswoman said Mr Blake’s claims were “unsubstantiated” and “irresponsible” and Rex’s fares had not increased since July 1 last year, well before Brindabella entered the Sydney to Orange route in February.
In a statement, Mr Blake said he did not mean to imply Rex had raised their fares, despite a statement on Monday where he said: “There is opportunity for another airline to service Orange, and this can be seen through the fares that the existing carrier has on this route, particularly since the temporary route suspension was announced.”
Brindabella continues to stay tight-lipped over when the suspended Orange/Sydney service will resume.
The airline owes Orange City Council up to $20,000 for passenger fees outstanding over the previous two months.
Orange mayor John Davis was confident Brindabella would repay the money, but would not say if he thought the airline would return.
He said it would have no chance of success unless its reliability improved.
“On behalf of the community, they shouldn’t have to accept what’s going on,” he said.
The Rex spokeswoman claimed Brindabella achieved an average of about two passengers per Orange flight based on its published schedule and the latest quarterly passenger statistics released by Transport for NSW.
“In addition, Brindabella also cancelled a significant percentage of flights,” he said.
The statistics show 13,738 passengers flew in and out of Orange Airport in the March quarter of this year when both airlines were operating, less than the previous quarter when there were 14,046 passengers and Brindabella started its Orange service.
The Rex spokeswoman said Brindabella was desperately trying to “draw attention elsewhere” while two of its aircraft were grounded by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA).
“Rex has a long and successful track record of servicing Orange and the bush in general and will continue to provide its safe, extremely reliable and heartfelt services at fair prices with or without competitors like Brindabella,” she said.