Incumbent Airlines Secure Five-Year Extensions for Vital Western Australia Regional Routes

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Regional Express (Rex) and Skippers Aviation have secured five-year extensions for their Western Australia regional air routes beginning on October 2, 2023, and ending on July 2, 2028, solidifying their position as primary carriers on these crucial routes.

Rex, facing criticism for delays and customer service issues on its Western Australia-regulated routes, was re-awarded contracts for the Perth International – Esperance, Perth – Albany, WA, and Perth – Carnarvon – Monkey Mia routes.

“Both Rex and Skippers Aviation have a long history of working with the state government to provide air services for regional residents, and their tender submissions demonstrated they were best placed to continue operating on their respective routes,” Western Australia Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said.

While Rex has been awarded the contracts for routes including Perth International – Esperance, Perth – Albany, WA, and Perth – Carnarvon – Monkey Mia, Skippers Aviation will continue to serve on the Perth – Laverton – Leonora and Perth – Wiluna – Meekatharra – Mount Magnet routes.

In Western Australia, airlines hold monopoly rights on specific routes, subsidised by the government, to connect small regional centres with the state capital, ensuring essential service access.

Rex Group Executive Chairman Lim Kim Hai acknowledged the service challenges and pledged to give Western Australia routes “maximum priority.” 

“I am acutely aware that Rex’s service levels have not matched the very high standards that Rex delivered in WA since February 2016 until the re-opening after Covid,” said Chairman Hai.

As part of the renewed contracts, both airlines will offer regional residents access to capped airfares for personal travel to and from Perth, aiming to make air travel more accessible and affordable for residents in Western Australia’s regional areas.

While Rex’s performance has drawn criticism, the decision to award them the contracts reflects the government’s confidence in their ability to improve service quality and reliability.

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