Regional Express will be allowed to share a Wagga to Sydney flight path with Qantaslink, with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission agreeing to relax competition rules to help the floundering airline.
Under the temporary new arrangement Rex will be allowed to share revenue and coordinate flight schedules with Qantaslink, which could allow them to resume their cancelled Wagga services.
However Rex has declared that they will only do so if the state and federal governments announce "meaningful" assistance packages, and have threatened to close all Wagga flights if no response is forthcoming.
The ultimatum comes after Rex suffered a brutal downturn in passenger numbers as the coronavirus pandemic continues to hit hard on the airline industry.
Rex has aggressively lobbied the government for airline concessions, however deputy chairman John Sharp said what the government has delivered so far was not enough to stop mass-closures of regional airlines.
"Eight other regional airlines have given a 24-hour ultimatum to the Federal Government saying they only have days before they collapse," Mr Sharp said.
"It would be most ironic if the Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of the Nationals should be presiding over the collapse of all these regional carriers under his watch because he could not defend the interests of the regional and rural communities in the Morrison Government."
However Mr Sharp said he was nevertheless "extremely grateful" to the ACCC for throwing them a lifeline just four days after entering into discussions with the airlines.
"This very prompt decision, and the one taken earlier with regards to the banks, will make a critical difference for all Australians, especially those in regional and rural communities, to survive this unprecedented crisis," Mr Sharp said.
"However, these measures alone will not allow the airlines to survive the next three months. The Federal, State and Local governments all need to act urgently and decisively to determine specific assistance packages."
Deputy prime minister Michael McCormack said he was sympathetic to Rex's plight and was in on-going discussions with them to find a solution that would allow them to stay afloat.
"I acknowledge calls for further support and am working closely with industry in responding to this crisis," Mr McCormack said.
"I understand just how important regional airlines are, such as Rex, with the company largely based in Wagga Wagga."
Mr McCormack has already announced a $715 million airline industry rescue package and is negotiating further measures after Rex declared the package to be "grossly insufficient".
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