Regional Express gambles on security in profit power play

 

Regional Express (Rex) has taken the extraordinary step of calling for a regional airport to reduce its security screening so it doesn’t have to pay for it.

The airline this week told the Daily Liberal that, despite screening being in place for all flights at Dubbo City Regional Airport for many years, Rex services should be excluded because the “only solution is to accept some risk exists in everyday life”.

Australian Airports Association (AAA) Chief Executive Officer Caroline Wilkie said there was no longer any doubt about the airline’s profit motives.

“Rex has once again chosen to use its market power to initiate a public and misleading campaign against a regional airport operator,” Ms Wilkie said.

“First, the airline threated to redeploy 61 weekly flights from the airport because they did not like the draft master plan.

“Now they want to get rid of security screening for Rex flights, without any regard for the concern this may cause their own passengers.

“This is a concerted campaign to boost Rex’s profit margins no matter what the impact on the travelling public.”

While aircraft of the size operated by Rex were not required by law to be screened, all flights had been screened at the busy regional airport for many years.

Excluding Rex from screening would give it a commercial competitive advantage against other airlines operating at the airport, while making managing security more complex.

Ms Wilkie said this latest call showed just how far Rex would go to increase their profits, and associated threats to withdraw services could hamstring the region’s economy even as it continues to struggle through drought.

“Rex has form using the media to threaten a reduction in services if regional airports don’t meet their demands,” Ms Wilkie said.

“It is hard to fathom how Rex could threaten to completely withdraw from a successful route when to do so would threaten the jobs and livelihoods of their very own customers in the region.

“It is time for Rex to work constructively with regional airport operators so the travelling public can get the best possible deal.”

ENDS

24 October 2019

 

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