Armidale Regional Council is about to conduct talks with REX after the regional airline announced it was suspending its services to the Armidale Regional Airport, as Australia's COVID-19 pandemic begins to take its toll.
REX will cease its flights to Armidale from April 6. However, an air service from Armidale to Sydney will still be available though Qantas, which has only reduced the number of its flights leaving Armidale and Tamworth as passenger numbers dwindle.
Armidale Regional Council CEO Susan Law said council was advised by REX of its intentions prior to the issue of the company's media release.
"They have said they would like to meet with council so we can hold a discussion about what might support them," she said.
"Obviously there will be an impact on the council's revenue from the airport.
"Even before REX made this decision to suspend the flights, the passenger numbers were significantly down because of the coronavirus, and there had been an impact on our revenue."
Mr's Law confirmed Armidale Regional Airport consistently lost about $500,000.
Mayor Simon Murray said council supported REX's decision.
"While any loss of transport services to our region is a blow, particularly the air services that are so valuable to our residents and organisations, we recognised the actions service providers must take during the global COVID-19 crisis," Cr Murray said.
"Virtually all businesses will be focused primarily on the health and safety of their teams and their customers - and REX is no exception."
He said council has a strong working relationship with each of the services providers that operate from the airport.
"We will work closely with REX, doing everything we can, so its flights can be restored as soon as it is practical, while liaising with the other operators that are continuing to provide regular passenger flights to Armidale."\
Member for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall said he was disappointed and saddened by the suspension of REX's services.
"But, I'm not surprised because this coronavirus has seen a huge downturn in numbers domestically and, of course, internationally, and as a smaller regional airline, REX has probably been hit harder than the other airlines," he said.
"The good news in all of this is I've spoken to REX and they are not giving up on Armidale. They are very keen to resume services when this current situation passes and passenger numbers resume.
"I don't think any of the medical experts nationally or state to state could give a definitive answer to the question of how long this will last.
"We're probably looking at months, but how many that is I don't know and wouldn't even try to guess. All we can do is remain calm and go about our normal business as best we can."