Regional Express (Rex) and the Bland Shire Council have hailed the extended trial period of the Rex service a success with the airline service now meeting costs.
The trial was initially put in place for three months commencing on 1 March and was extended a further three months to the end of August following indications the service was working.
Managing Director of Regional Express, Geoff Breust, said the second three months of the trial had shown the service can stand on its own.
“A total of 1,928 passengers have used the service since it commenced and our average load factor is now running at 70 percent. Passenger revenue is now meeting the costs of operations and if we can continue to grow passenger numbers the service has a bright future”, Mr Breust said.
“In continued talks with the Bland Council and Barrick Gold we have re-scheduled our Wednesday service to depart Sydney an hour later at 12.30pm and returning from West Wyalong at 2pm. The new schedule commences on 21 September.”
Bland Shire General Manager, Mr Frank Zaknich said “This service partnership is an important one for both the shire and its adjoining communities and demonstrates that we are indeed “open for business” in regional NSW. The support of both the local business and wider communities has been fantastic and we thank both Rex and Barrick Gold for assisting Council to provide this much needed service”
Bland Shire will continue to assist the service by not charging a passenger levy for the use of West Wyalong Airport. It is also working towards certification of the airport to enable long
term use of the airport for regional airline services.
Mr Breust congratulated Bland Shire and Barrick Gold on their initiative and pragmatic approach to developing the service.
“Regional air services are a partnership between business users, the local community through local government which generally operates the airport and the airline. In the case of West Wyalong we have had tremendous support from all parties and the result is proof that by working together we can achieve the right result.” Mr Breust said.
Rex is hopeful the service will soon require an increase in frequency and consideration is being given to providing a service on Thursdays. A decision on this is expected in coming months depending on passenger demand.
Mr Breust said many regional residents are using the service and he was aware of some wonderful personal stories of people now being able to either visit Sydney or come back to West Wyalong. The air service has provided them with the ability to travel whereas the long drive or other transport had previously made it impossible.
Fares start from $99 one-way available at www.rex.com.au.
Revised schedule effective Week commencing 19 September
Sydney to West Wyalong
EFF : 19Sep05
ZL967 1130 1235 1...... SYDWWY 0 SWM
ZL971 1230 1335 ..3.... SYDWWY 0 SWM
ZL973 1320 1425 ....5.. SYDWWY 0 SWM
West Wyalong - Sydney
EFF : 19Sep05
ZL968 1255 1400 1...... WWYSYD 0 SWM
ZL972 1400 1505 ..3.... WWYSYD 0 SWM
ZL974 1445 1550 ....5.. WWYSYD 0 SWM