Regional Express thrown a lifeline from the government

Regional Express welcomes airline relief package, but says more needs to be done

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DECISION IMMINENT: Regional Express is set to make an announcement "very soon" on whether services to and from Wagga Airport will be cut.

DECISION IMMINENT: Regional Express is set to make an announcement "very soon" on whether services to and from Wagga Airport will be cut.

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"If we can't survive through this pandemic then there'll be no one to take our place when we leave,

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Regional Express has been thrown a lifeline from the government, but the airline warns much more needs to be done to prevent the company from crumbling.

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack announced a raft of concessions for the struggling airline industry on Wednesday - to the tune of about $715 million.

The package comes just days after Rex wrote to Mr McCormack with a list of demands, and all but one key demand has been met.

Rex deputy chairman John Sharp said he was "grateful" to Mr McCormack for the assistance package, but said it alone would not be enough.

"If we can't survive through this pandemic then there'll be no one to take our place when we leave," Mr Sharp said.

"We are an essential service for many regional communities and if we were to close down, they would have no connectivity."

Mr Sharp said Rex would be forced to "drastically" cut its services and dropping some routes altogether.

He said some of those routes had been running at a loss for years, and that they could be forced to close those services entirely.

Mr Sharp did not say whether Wagga Airport was in danger of losing some or all of its services, but said the company would be making announcements "very shortly".

In the meantime, Mr Sharp will said he will continue lobbying Mr McCormack until he gives in to Rex's key unmet demand: a sovereign guarantee on loans so the banks would be willing to lend them money.

Mr McCormack said discussions were ongoing with Mr Sharp and the other airlines, and that he would continue to work to "address their issues".

"Our airlines run on tight budgets at the best of times and these past few weeks have been particularly tough," he said.

"Providing this assistance not only helps our airlines but also the entire aviation industry, regional Australians in particular and other industries such as tourism and trade, which depend on aviation."

The relief package includes a freeze on fuel excise, domestic air service charges, and regional and domestic security costs.

Wagga mayor Greg Conkey said he welcomed the government's relief package and hoped Rex pulled through.

"It's very important for the government to consider those smaller communities and the service that Rex provides, so I fully support their decision," Councillor Conkey said.

Qantas Group chief executive Alan Joyce said the relief package made a great difference to the aviation industry.

"For all players to receive this support early on is a great help," Mr Joyce said.

"There are some tough weeks and possibly months ahead, but our focus is on getting through that so we're ready to help with the recovery on the other side."

The story Regional Express thrown a lifeline from the government first appeared on The Daily Advertiser.

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