UPDATE: REGIONAL EXPRESS (REX) has recommenced services between Adelaide and Coober Pedy with funding from both the Federal Government and the South Australian State Government, now formally approved.
In total, Rex will now be operating 88 weekly return services under the various funding arrangements with Coober Pedy receiving three flights per week – Monday, Wednesday and Friday
Under the COVID-19 Regional Airline Network Support (RANS) program, regional airlines will be provided assistance to maintain a minimal weekly schedule to regional and remote ports. The RANS program will provide funding for up to six months with an initial approval for six weeks.
Under revised Grant guidelines, Rex is eligible to receive funding to operate 2-3 return services a week to all destinations on the Rex network.
Rex’s application for the ports it wishes to provide services to have been approved and was signed off on 23 April 2020. In addition to the Federal Government funding package, three State Governments, Queensland, Western Australia (WA) and South Australia (SA), have also committed to funding additional services.
Without this intervention, many smaller regional communities would risk not having any air services at all for at least six months.
With this latest update Member for Giles, Eddie Hughes MP told the Coober Pedy Regional Times, “This is good news for Coober Pedy given the need for an air link to Adelaide.”
“I strongly supported the revised request by REX in order to ensure an air link for essential travellers and services. In the original proposal Coober Pedy missed out but under the revised arrangement Coober Pedy will have three flights a week,” Mr. Hughes said.
“It is essential that Coober Pedy has a regular air link given its distance from Adelaide. I just want to add this should be for essential services and not discretionary travel. Coober Pedy has no recorded cases of COVID 19 and we want to keep it that way,” he said.
“The vast majority of South Australians should be proud about the way we have addressed this threat – by doing the right thing we have saved lives. Let’s keep up the good work,” said Mr. Hughes.
Terry Jones Manager at the Desert Cave in Coober Pedy and Rex Booking Agent said that he has been notified of the latest flight amendments beginning in May and says, “Life is starting to get back to normal again”. “With Rex flights beginning to come in again it feels like there is light at end of the tunnel,” said Terry.
Matthew Key Presiding Member Far North Health Advisory Council said, “Air travel is vital to ensuring our public services, like health and education, can operate at an adequate level. It’s hard to attract services when the alternative to a flight is a 9 – 10 hour drive.”
“This also allows people who require medical treatment in Adelaide to avoid a long uncomfortable drive, potentially putting their well-being at further risk.”
“It also allows remote workers access to training and development opportunities that they may otherwise not have access to.”
“I hope to see these services supporting our town again ASAP”, said Matthew.
Rex will stand by all regional communities that have stood by Rex during this global and national crisis.”
Details of both the Commonwealth-funded and State-funded services are given in the Appendix.
Bookings can be made via the normal channels.