Will Rex Airlines start flights from Ballina airport?
REGIONAL Express has renewed its interest in flying from Ballina to Sydney, after exiting the route due to competition from Qantas.
QantasLink was due to start flying out from Ballina at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, and those planes never left the tarmac.
With Qantas out of the picture for the near future, Rex has applied for government support to fly two return services per week from the Ballina Byron Gateway Airport.
On Monday night in a press statement, Rex also announced it had been successfully funded to continue flying the Sydney to Grafton to Lismore route twice a week.
The federal funding will allow the airline to fly 38 return services per week in Australia.
Rex has also applied for extra funding to fly the Sydney, Grafton, Lismore route three times per week.
The federal government revised its COVID-19 Regional Airline Network Support program guidelines late last week, funding Rex to operate 1-2 services per week from most destinations, and with provision to increase the number of funded services for each regional or remote port.
"All regional and remote communities owe the Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack and the Morrison Government a great debt of gratitude for providing funding to ensure they continue to receive minimal essential air links to the capital cities for medical, professional and educational needs," Rex deputy chairman John Sharp said.
"Without this intervention, many smaller regional communities would risk not having any air services at all for at least six months.
"By funding a bare bones schedule for the next six months, the Federal Government has given all regional airlines a fighting chance to see through this pandemic."