Grafton Travel owner Corey Bertalli is glad to see Rex flying back into the Clarence Valley.
Grafton Travel owner Corey Bertalli is glad to see Rex flying back into the Clarence Valley.

REX IS BACK: A bright light in travel’s bleak outlook

TO SAY it’s been a bad year for the travel industry might be an understatement.

“A huge understatement,” owner of Grafton Travel Corey Bertalli said yesterday.

However, he said he was relieved at hearing that Rex would fly back into Grafton at an announcement at Clarence Valley Airport yesterday.

“It means that I’ve got four guys that have jobs again,” he said.

“I’m thankful for Kevin, Mr Sharp and Mayor Simmons that have fought hard to get the airline back.”

>>> RELATED: The original announcement on Rex’s return

The airline pulled the service early in July citing comments from a Clarence Valley Council meeting in debate over subsidies for the airline, despite the resolution being passed 7-2.

Mr Bertalli said his staff operate the ground arrangements with Rex, checking people in, and handling bags, and when Rex pulled out, they were without a job.

Mayor Jim Simmons, Member for Page Kevin Hogan, Clarence Valley Council gm Ashley Lindsay and Grafton Travel owner Corey Bertalli at announcement of Rex returning to the Clarence Valley.
Mayor Jim Simmons, Member for Page Kevin Hogan, Clarence Valley Council gm Ashley Lindsay and Grafton Travel owner Corey Bertalli at announcement of Rex returning to the Clarence Valley.

“Now Rex have announced they’re coming back, (the workers) will be happy to get that phone call from me.”

Mr Bertalli said the travel industry had been decimated by the coronavirus pandemic, and the pullout was just “one more kick in the guts”.

“It’s a crystal ball when it might get back to some normality,” he said.

>>> TURBULENT TIMELINE: How Grafton lost and found its airline

“Percentage wise, domestic travel would only account for 20 per cent of our business … and with international flights and cruise lines grounded, there’s not much income coming in for a travel business.

“We also do a lot of corporate travel, but the corporates aren’t travelling either at the moment.

“All we can do is look after our existing clients, try to help them as best we can until the find a cure or we come to some other solution.

“Things are looking bleak, but at least there’s a smile back on my face for a while.”



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