One of Australia’s leading airlines has issued a financial downgrade and claims the industry is on the verge of imploding. “The entire aviation industry is financially haemorrhaging right now and approaching collapse,” declared Gary Filmer, chief operating officer of the Regional  Express Group.

He said business travel has “really plummeted” while there have been slight declines in leisure and other discretionary travel.

Mr Filmer referred to the hard times Australia’s major carriers are enduring – both Qantas and Virgin Australia have said they will lose millions this financial year.

“Regional aviation is even harder hit as as the profit margins are slimmer,” he said.

“We have already seen the collapse of two of Australia’s oldest regional carriers during this financial year – Aeropelican and Brindabella – and in today’s toxic aviation environment more will likely follow suit.”

Mr Filmer said REX’s profit before tax for the six months to Dec 31 would be “significantly deteriorated” – about 60% down on the previous corresponding period.

REX is Australia’s biggest independent regional airline.

It operates 40 Saab 340 aircraft on 1300 weekly flights to 35 destinations across NSW, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and Queensland.

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