BATHURST Regional Council will meet with the Rex board on Wednesday in a bid to retain the city's air link to Sydney.
Rex announced on Monday the airline's plans to abandon its Bathurst-Sydney flights by the end of March in response to Qantas' "aggressive predatory" move into regional markets.
The Bathurst route, which attracted 20,000 passengers a year prior to COVID, is one of five "marginal" routes to be discontinued.
But Bathurst mayor Bobby Bourke said council was ready for a fight to retain flights to Sydney and would also speak with other airlines, if needed.
Before that, though, Cr Bourke has arranged a meeting with Rex deputy chairman John Sharp and members of the board on Wednesday.
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"All the councillors will have the chance to meet with them to see what we can do to keep the service in Bathurst," Cr Bourke said.
"It's disappointing they are doing this and we will have to see what impact this decision has."
Cr Bourke said the Bathurst-Sydney route was popular among doctors flying into Bathurst for appointments and was well patronised during major events, such as the Bathurst 1000.
He said council would also engage the federal government for its support to retain the Bathurst-Sydney route.
Mr Sharp said the changes were part Rex's new regional network strategy to cope with the twin threats of COVID and increased competition from Qantas.
"Qantas has clearly embarked on a deliberate strategy of moving into Rex's routes that can only support one regional carrier in an attempt to intimidate and damage Rex in its traditional regional market, hoping that Rex would be a less formidable competitor in the domestic market," Mr Sharp said.
"Qantas is making record losses during COVID and has received an estimated $1.2 billion in Commonwealth assistance to stay solvent but, despite this, feels it is appropriate to use taxpayers' funds to finance the losses on new services whose sole objective is to weaken the competitor."
Rex will retain its Orange-Sydney flights for now, despite figures released on Monday showing it attracted just 1017 passengers for the four weeks from January 17 to February 13, compared with 65,000 passengers a year pre-COVID.
Qantas began flying from Orange to Sydney in July last year.
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