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Helen Dalton bemoans Rex Airlines' critical cuts to Riverina services

Independent Member for Murray, Helen Dalton, appeared on Flow's Country Viewpoint program to vent her frustration after recent developments involving regional carrier, Rex Airlines, frustrated locals relying on services from Griffith and Narrandera into Sydney.

Independent Member for Murray, Helen Dalton

The airline has attributed cuts to services to a shortage of pilots.

Individuals opting to travel with Rex in order to fly from Sydney to Narrandera previously had five daily options to choose from and will now have to make do with three, potentially plunging those who were dependent on Rex's previous fleets into a state of disarray.

Dalton said the links were vital to people in her electorate from all walks of life.

"Air services are lifeline for regional communities, so it's a great disappointment that Rex have announced reduced services on their Griffith and Narrandera routes, these links are vital for people in the region traveling to Sydney for important health appointments and there are also doctors who use a service to fly to Griffith," Dalton said.

So we're seeing the impact in another way as well, where it affects the quality of our healthcare and there are already enough challenges in this sector, without having another disappointing announcement."

Dalton referred back to the crippling shortage of pilots in the airline industry and implied that bigger commercial airlines are beefing up their fleets by contracting pilots from smaller airlines, such as Rex Airlines.

"Rex Airlines have cited a shortage of pilots as being the reason for the reduction in their services and the airline, saying its roster of pilots have been lured away to work for other competitors and primarily Qantas, so obviously they're having a bit of a blue with each other," said Dalton.

The airline has said it intends to resume its current roster of services in March 2024 but meanwhile, we'll have our services cut which is disappointing over the Christmas period and of course disappointing for those that need to catch up with friends and relatives and those legal and health appointments that are needed at times.

Dalton offered her sympathy for members of her jurisdiction who are likely to be impacted over the festive period.

"It'll take time and money I guess - people will have to take extra days off work, get in their car and travel if they've got to get to those life-saving appointments in Sydney, it just increasingly makes us more isolated," said Dalton.

The retired school teacher went on to state that government intervention in the matter could become necessary.

"I think that the government and the airlines need to understand how important these services are for places like Griffith and if necessary, the government should intervene to maintain the connectivity that these important air services provide, if there is a shortage of pilots, we need to do all we can to train more pilots so that our regions can have the air service that they need and deserve."


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