News

REX claims Federal Govt is 'destroying regional aviation'

REX airlines.
REX airlines.

THE executive chairman of airline Regional Express has launched an extraordinary attack on the Federal Government, claiming it appears "hell-bent on destroying regional aviation".

Lim Kim Hai's anti-government tirade came as the airline announced it had posted an after-tax profit of $14 million in 2012/13 - down 45% on the previous year.

Rex, which operates a fleet of more than 40 Saab 340 aircraft to 35 destinations in five states, said the introduction of the carbon tax had helped create "one of the most toxic environments ever to face aviation in Australia".

The company was eager to blame its fall in profit on the introduction of carbon pricing, which came into effect on July 1 last year.

It paid $2.4 million in carbon tax costs, but said it had also affected consumer spending.

Rex's revenue was down 5% for the year to $258 million, with passenger numbers dropping 6.8%.

"We saw sales plunge almost immediately from July 1, 2012 after the Federal Government's carbon tax was implemented, together with a whole host of policies hostile to regional aviation," Singapore-based Mr Hai said in a statement.

"Minister Albanese's claim that the impact of the carbon tax would be little more than the cost of a cup of coffee became the understatement of the aviation year, when both businesses and households cut back on flying due to the rising costs in the economy."

"REX is a very efficient, formidable and operationally excellent airline. However, there is little we can do when the Federal Government appears to be hell-bent on destroying regional aviation and along with it, pretty much the rest of the economy."

Despite the gloomy rhetoric Rex revealed it was pressing ahead with a $50 million investment in the business this year. Shareholders will not receive a final dividend "in light of the huge capital needs".

Mr Hai's attack came as Qantas also revealed carbon tax costs had driven up its operating costs by $106 million in the financial year.

Qantas recorded a modest after tax profit of $6 million - a $250 million turnaround after posting an historic loss just 12 months earlier.

The company said carbon pricing added $77 million to its Qantas Domestic operations and $29 million to budget airline Jetstar.

In a statement, Qantas listed the carbon tax, which came into effect on July 1 last year, as one of the "negatives" to have impacted on the company's before tax profit of $192 million. The others were costs associated with the company's Dubai hub transition, pilot back-pay and additional start-up losses in Jetstar's new ventures in Asia.

If Labor manages to win another term it will scrap the carbon tax in July next year - a year earlier than planned - in favour of an emissions trading scheme.

Mr Albanese told APN Newsdesk the long-term outlook for regional airlines was "positive", citing emerging opportunities to expand their operations and grow profits.

"But don't take my word for it. Prior to the introduction of the carbon price Mr Hai told the Australian Stock Exchange: 'I am actually more optimistic and confident of the outlook and potential of the Rex Group than I have ever been for the past nine years.'," Mr Albanese said.

"In anyone's language, that's a very positive take on the future."

Topics:  anthony albanese, carbon pricing, federal government, qantas, rex


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Councillors’ election promise to deliver CBD project questioned

DOUBT: Andrew Antoniolli, Paul Pisasale and Paul Tully announce the lagoon project in February.

Councillors’ election promise to deliver CBD project questioned

Images of our shameful past

FOUND: Wade Thompson and Henry Thompson Jr at the Deebing Creek Mission Cemetery.

Images of our shameful past

Show out to deliver the thrills

The Safari Zoo is expected to be a big attraction for the kids.

Show out to deliver the thrills s

Latest deals and offers

Atheists: Don't call yourself a Jedi!

WITH just over a week to go until the national Census, campaigners are urging Australians to answer “no religion”.

Low IQ spares convicted child abuser time behind bars

GUILTY: Bradley Clinton Seager-Hanslow, 23 has been sentenced to three year's probation after being found guilty of child sex offences by a jury.

He asked a girl to be "his secret girlfriend" before touching her

Bomb squad now in possession of suspicious device

Fragments of a suspicious device that were found underneath a park bench in an Ipswich park this morning.

Device is a "magnet attached to...small, cylindrical metal object"

Sex 'predator' hid upskirt footage in a sock

New Zealand national used videos to satisfy his sexual urges

One in hospital for smoke inhalation

photo Lea Emery / Fraser Coast Chronicle

Emergency crews were called to the site shortly after 2am

OPINION: Tough choices for our young Y10 students

Deciding on your future can be hard

Elm Street is far from a nightmare

Elm street's new album is making waves. Photo Contributed

Elm Street talks about drumming studios, power metal and the album.

What's on the small screen this week

Keira Maguire and Richie Strahan in a scene from The Bachelor.

SEVEN gears up for the Rio Olympics while The Bachelor continues.

Drowning Pool gig review at Max Watt's

Drowning Pool played Brisbane with A Breach of Silence and She Cries Wolf at the Max Watt's House of Music.

Drowning Pool prove that 'bodies' hit the floor when they play

#SaveMarinaJoyce: How ISIS theory took over youtube channel

One young Youtuber accidentally gave rise to a conspiracy theory

Talking whiskey with Jack Daniel’s master distiller

It all comes down to the distillery

SIXTY MILES AHEAD sign with Eclipse Records, prepare new album 'Insanity'

Sixty Miles Ahead sign with Eclipse. Photo Contributed

Sixty Miles Ahead to release new album on Eclipse

Queensland's $1 town goes under the hammer today

The township of Yelarbon is up for sale.

Unprecedented auction of town's business centre with no reserve

Work starts on $15M Caloundra apartment building

Turning the first sod at the Aqua View Apartments site in Kings Beach are (from left) husband-and-wife developers Alex Yuan and Stella Sun with construction company Tomkins director Mike Tomkins and Councillor Tim Dwyer.

Developers excited about addition to Kings Beach skyline

72-year-old Coast developer set to start new project

GREEN LIGHT: The Cosmopolitan has been approved for development at Cotton Tree.

Meet the Canberran set to deliver another chapter for Coast suburb

Plans revealed for 1500-lot 'master-planned community'

Precinct will be bounded by Boundary St and Shoesmith Rd

Ecco Ripley sales run sparks prime release

MOVING IN: Sekisui House has announced the release of more residential blocks at Ecco Ripley.

Sekisui House is preparing to unveil more land at Ecco Ripley

The climb is slow but property on the way up

Michael Matusik, director of Matusik Property Insights.Photo Allan Reinikka / The Morning Bulletin

The improvement would be mild when compared to past cycles