Saturday, February 24, 2018
New England aviation - Rex faces problems on the North Coast
In Taree, conflict between Rex and the Council led to the termination of the service and Rex's replacement by Fly Pelican. I think that Newcastle based Fly Pelican is now the only remaining New England headquartered scheduled airline. This story by the Manning River Times Ainslee Dennis will provide you with some of the background.
Further north at Grafton there is a dispute, well a discussion at least, between council and Rex on the future of the Sydney-Grafton service. The Clarence Valley News' Geoff Helisma has the story.
It's hard to believe that Grafton was once New England's second largest commercial centre challenging Maitland for primacy. Grafton's decline was due to many things, some local and cultural, some locational, some sheer bad luck. Now the relatively small population of Grafton and the Clarence Valley makes the maintenance of air services difficult.
One feature of the Grafton discussion that interested me was the concept of community airfares. I would like to address this later for it provides a possible path to improve the viability (and cost) of local air services. Meantime, the Council seems to to be making things as difficult as possible, accepting that (as appears to be the case at Taree) Rex is not especially subtle in negotiation.