REX AIRLINES: DISCONTINUANCE OF COOBER PEDY AIR SERVICE

Rex Airlines are formally advising all stakeholders that unless CASA alters its position or unless the runway is sealed in time, services to Coober Pedy will cease from 13 November 2014. We have stopped accepting all sales after this date so as to avoid disappointment and disruption for the travelling public. 

There has been an inordinate amount of discussion, debate and correspondence regarding continued operations of the Regional Express (Rex) SAAB 340 regular public transport (RPT) passenger service to Coober Pedy with the impending Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) changes regarding narrow runway operations that will soon take effect.

Rex has been proactive in communicating this matter to Coober Pedy Council and other government agencies from the time the proposed amendments to the Civil Aviation Regulation (CAR) 235A were first raised with industry more than one year ago.

Furthermore, Rex proposed the Seal Coat option (a much cheaper alternative) to CASA which consists of sealing the runway shoulders to provide a homogenous 30 metre surface. CASA accepted this proposal and this information was communicated to Coober Pedy Council and the Federal Member for Grey as a permanent fix for Coober Pedy airport.

Rex and other agencies received advice from John McCormick, ex Director of Aviation Safety, CASA on 29 August 2014 (see attached), stating CASA’s position. We understand that from 13 November 2014, CASA intends to place a crosswind limitation of 10 knots on our operations at Coober Pedy which will render the service untenable.

The absurdity surrounding this matter is that if the central 18 metres of sealed surface was removed, the runway would transform into an all gravel surface having no regulatory limitations imposed.

Rex and its predecessor, Kendell Airlines, have operated safely and continuously for the past 27 years providing Coober Pedy with safe and reliable services, however with the proposed crosswind limitation of 10 knots, the services will be operationally and commercially no longer viable.

We are formally advising all stakeholders that unless CASA alters its position or unless the runway is sealed in time, services to Coober Pedy will cease from 13 November 2014. We have stopped accepting all sales after this date so as to avoid disappointment and disruption for the travelling public.

Neville Howell
Chief Operating Officer
Regional Express

See attached: Letter from CASA_29 AUG14 (PDF)