Dispute over sky-high air travel: councillor questions Rex's fares

A SOAR POINT: Councillor Jeff Whitton’s dismay at soaring air fares.

A SOAR POINT: Councillor Jeff Whitton’s dismay at soaring air fares.

CONCERNS about the cost for air travellers to fly between Sydney and Orange may fall on deaf ears, with Rex management challenging Orange councillors to lower airport charges.

Councillor Jeff Whitton raised his dismay at the cost of fares after he paid $399 one-way from Sydney to Orange.

“It was a lot of money,” he said.

He questioned the charges, saying planes took off with a “handful” of people.

“Once they know an aircraft is going to fly, all the other carriers go and sell the remaining seats cheap, but Rex seems to do it the opposite way,” he said.

“All the cheap ones go early and the other ones are pricey.”

Cr Whitton questioned the use of spending $19 million on the airport upgrade if flights were outside most travellers’ reach.

“We need to sit down with the organisation that uses the airport,” he said.

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However, a Rex spokeswoman said the cost of using Orange Airport was $15.95 for each arriving and departing passenger and was the highest fee levied across the network.

“If the council is sincere about encouraging air services, it should ask why it has imposed the highest head tax, rather than criticise Rex,” she said.

Rex also blamed Brindabella Airlines’ demise in December last year on the charges and councillors reversed a decision to increase them in March.

The spokeswoman said Rex offered a range of fares, starting at $154 one-way.

“[The $399 fare] would be due to the lower priced fares having already been purchased by other customers, which is not different to any other airlines operating in Australia or for that matter, the world,” she said.

“It is also important to note that the Rex full economy fare accounts for less than 2 per cent of all passengers travelling on the Orange to Sydney route.”

danielle.cetinski@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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