Open letter from Rex to councils: aviation industry needs your help

THE aviation industry is in crisis.

Financial turbulence - including the application of consumer price index (CPI) increases on passenger taxes - has regional airlines flying at a precarious altitude.

The dire outlook has prompted a mayday call from Australia's largest independent regional airline, Regional Express (Rex).

It wants all industry stakeholders - including councils and airport owners - to "pull together" and ensure its survival.

The airline says if they don't, irreversible damage would result and many communities would lose air services.

In an open letter to regional councils and airport owners, general manager of network strategy and sales at Rex, Warrick Lodge, issued a desperate plea for assistance.

Mr Lodge said the Australian aviation industry hadn't witnessed "this much turmoil" since the Ansett collapse in 2001.

"In extremely dire times like these we believe it is imperative that all stakeholders in regional aviation pull together to ensure its survival," Mr Lodge said in the letter.

"Councils and airport owners cannot continue a business-as-usual approach and continue to apply CPI increases on passenger taxes, especially those airports that are already generating excess profits on their airport operations."

Mr Lodge has urged them to help keep air services sustainable by having, as a minimum, a moratorium on airport head tax increases until they are flying smoothly.

Since the inception of Rex in August 2002, its passenger numbers have doubled - the result is a significant increase in airport revenues over that time.

Rex's profits fell 45 per cent last financial year and another 60 per cent in the first half of the current one.

Mr Lodge said on Wednesday that airport charges were "just one of hundreds of costs we have to pass on to customers".

The letter said "the combined onslaught of a sharp slowdown in economic activity, record fuel prices and unfavourable movements in the exchange rate" were imposts on the airline.

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