REGIONAL Express Airlines (Rex) has confirmed its services between Bathurst and Sydney will cease on June 30.
The news comes as little surprise, after talks between the airline and Bathurst Regional Council became public, with council under the impression the route would no longer be offered after the end of May.
The Bathurst service is not the only one to be scrapped, with Rex's announcement on Monday afternoon including plans to withdraw from Grafton, Lismore, Kangaroo Island and Ballina.
Flights to four of the five regional centres will cease on June 30, coinciding with the end of the Federal Government's Regional Airline Network Support (RANS) program.
The Ballina route will terminate on July 2.
Rex's deputy chairman, John Sharp AM, said the decisions were made to improve the airline's financial performance.
"Rex has faithfully serviced most of these routes for 20 years and some of them for more than 30 years by Rex's predecessor Kendell and Hazelton. So it is with a really heavy heart that we have to announce the cessation of services in an effort to improve Rex's financial performance," he said.
"Qantas' well-publicised predatory actions on Rex's regional routes have meant that Rex no longer has the ability to cross subsidise these marginal routes.
"It is unfortunate that these regional communities are the collateral damage of Qantas' bullying and heartless behaviour. This behaviour is all the more unconscionable after receiving over $2 billion in Federal bailouts over the past two years."
A Qantas spokesperson hit back at the comments from Mr Sharp, saying Rex's claims were "ridiculous".
"Rex is always looking to blame others when it withdraws from regional routes, but none of its claims stack up to scrutiny," they said.
"Rex has a monopoly on three of these routes it's abandoning, so if it can't make them work, it has no-one else to blame but itself.
"Rex says it doesn't have the funds to cross subsidise these routes, but it doesn't have a problem finding money to invest in more aircraft for its capital city 737 operations. That must be confusing for regional customers given Rex's tagline is that their heart is in the country.
"Rex's claims against Qantas have become so far-fetched, we had to create a dedicated page on our website to rebut them and update it on a fairly regularly basis as they cook up more weird conspiracy theories."
In anticipation of Rex withdrawing, Bathurst Regional Council has already launched an expressions of interest (EOI) period to find a suitable carrier to take over the route and potentially offer additional flights.
Deputy mayor Ben Fry has previously said that submissions would need to be returned to council by June 8.
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