Rex ser­vice set to save North’s trav­ellers $ 4m

Ser­vice to Cairns de­buts

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - RACHEL RI­LEY rachel. ri­ley@ news. com. au

I NTER­NA­TIONAL t ourists and Townsville busi­ness peo­ple were among the first pas­sen­gers aboard a new di­rect- flight ser­vice to Cairns.

This comes as the city’s air­port marked less than two months to go be­fore the open­ing of its in­ter­na­tional ter­mi­nal to ser­vice flights to Bali.

Re­gional Ex­press ( Rex) will have three re­turn flights each week­day be­tween Townsville and Cairns and the first took off at 7am yes­ter­day.

Fares started at $ 123.05 and have in­creased the num­ber of Rex ser­vices be­tween the two north­ern cen­tres from two to 34 flights a week, adding around 60,000 seats a year.

It had been a tur­bu­lent 18 months for the city’s re­gional air mar­ket since Vir­gin Aus­tralia’s exit in Jan­uary 2014.

Rex state man­ager Steve Jones said the com­pany had been “heav­ily so­licited” to start the ser­vice and un­der­took a mar­ket- sound­ing ex­er­cise to gauge ex­act sup­port.

Mr Jones said that back­ing had trans­lated into strong sales for the first week of flights.

“Clearly the lo­cal busi­ness com­mu­nity and univer­sity have been cry­ing out for a good, re­li­able op­er­a­tor, who can de­liver rea­son­able fares on AUS­TRALIA’S rich­est per­son Gina Rine­hart says her fa­ther Lang Han­cock was de­voted to own­ing an iron ore mine and laments that she be­lieved her fam­ily would be happy once she fi­nally achieved that aim.

Mrs Rine­hart ( last night told the ABC’s Story her fa­ther’s con­tri­bu­tion was not fully recog­nised.

Mr Han­cock dis­cov­ered the Hamer­s­ley iron ore de­posits in Western Aus­tralia’s Pil­bara and tried to move from some­one who re­ceived roy­al­ties from iron ore to a part- owner.

The pro­file presents another side of Mrs Rine­hart, whom a NSW judge in May the route,” he said. “We would hope those flight num­bers are sus­tain­able; we need peo­ple to sup­port us so we are ap­peal­ing to busi­nesses and the com­mu­nity to give us a try.”

Mr Jones said the new ser­vices were es­ti­mated to bring sav­ings of around $ 4 mil­lion to the North’s trav­ellers, ac­cess to cheaper fares and in­creased con­nec­tiv­ity to other ar­eas.

“These flights are a great way for Townsville to lever­age said had used tac­tics bor­der­ing on in­tim­i­da­tion in the fight for con­trol of the $ 5 bil­lion fam­ily trust that he handed to el­dest daugh­ter Bianca Rine­hart.

Mrs Rine­hart said of the le­gal bat­tles: “This is not the sort of thing Dad would be thrilled with.” off Cairns’ deep roots within the in­ter­na­tional mar­ket al­ready,” he said.

Townsville Air­port is con­tin­u­ing works to im­prove the over­all “am­bi­ence” of the in­ter­na­tional area be­fore the start of in­ter­na­tional flights on Septem­ber 2.

“Townsville Air­port man­age­ment are work­ing with the rel­e­vant govern­ment agen­cies to en­sure the fa­cil­ity meets all rel­e­vant reg­u­la­tory stan­dards,” a Queens­land Air­ports spokes­woman said.

“A duty- free store and the ad­di­tion of a cafe will be the two no­table ad­di­tions when the in­ter­na­tional ter­mi­nal re­opens.

“Townsville Air­port is work­ing with govern­ment agen­cies and rel­e­vant staff to en­sure ad­e­quate train­ing in re­la­tion to in­ter­na­tional op­er­a­tions is com­pleted prior to the com­mence­ment of ser­vices.”

Plans for the air­port’s $ 40 mil­lion re­de­vel­op­ment to ex­ist­ing ter­mi­nal and apron fa­cil­i­ties are on­go­ing.

Ltd RACE driver- in- train­ing Hamishi h Bowen has never seen the V8 su­per­cars, so get­ting be­hind the wheel of one of their trans­porters was just the ticket to rev him up ahead of the week­end’s rac­ing.

Hamish and his fam­ily got a sneak peek in­side two of the mon­ster- sized trucks be­fore they join a multi- mil­lion dol­lar pro­ces­sion from mid­day to­mor­row, mark­ing the of­fi­cial start to the Cas­trol EDGE Townsville 400.

This year, the mas­sive B- dou­ble trans­porters will be­gin the jour­ney from Webb Drive at Bohle, tak­ing a turn down Shaws Rd and along the Ring Road be­fore start­ing the fan­fare along Hervey Range Rd, Ross River Rd and Char­ters Tow­ers Rd then fin­ish­ing at Reid Park.

“My boys are re­ally ex­cited for the pa­rade and they have been talk­ing about the V8s ev­ery day for weeks,” Hamish’s mother Ali Bowen said.

For the best view, spec­ta­tors are en­cour­aged to con­gre­gate along Hervey Range, Ross River and Char­ters Tow­ers roads, with no park­ing per­mit­ted along Shaws Rd or the Ring Road.

Pic­ture: ZAK SIM­MONDS

MOV­ING EVENT: Hamish Bowen, 5, with a V8 Su­per­cars trans­porter and ( inset) the route for to­mor­row’s pa­rade.

RACHEL RI­LEY

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