REX has backed down from its plan to abandon flights servicing "marginal" areas of the country as part of a major shake-up of its regional operations.
The airline announced last month that the Bathurst-Sydney route was one five to be dumped from the Rex schedule by the end of March in response to what it labelled Qantas' "aggressive predatory" move into regional markets.
At the time, Rex deputy chairman John Sharp said the changes were part of a new regional network strategy to cope with the twin threats of COVID and increased competition from Qantas.
But the company has this morning backflipped on those plans following the "unexpected decision by the Federal Government to continue the Regional Aviation Network Support (RANS) program until end September 2021".
"The five affected routes are Sydney-Bathurst, Sydney-Cooma, Sydney-Lismore, Sydney-Grafton [and] Adelaide- Kangaroo Island," the company said in a statement to the media.
"Fares for travel on these routes from April onwards will be available for sale this evening."
Bathurst MP Paul Toole welcomed the announcement, saying the Rex flights to Sydney were an important service for many Bathurst people.
"This is welcoming news as an air route such as Bathurst to Sydney is critical in providing connectivity," Mr Toole said.
"Many individuals will be pleased with this announcement as this service is used for business, medical, leisure and major events here in the city of Bathurst."
There was never a threat the Sydney to Orange Rex route would be discontinued, with Orange's pre-COVID numbers well above the "marginal" data recorded in Bathurst, with 65,000 passengers a year using Rex's service from the Orange airport.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content: