A FURIOUS Member for Mount Gambier Troy Bell will boycott aviation carrier Regional Express to protest over what he claims is “appalling” customer service as well as frequent flight delays and cancellations.
It is understood there is now on average a delay or cancellation on the Mount Gambier routes every two days.
Aviation sources also claim there has been a spike in the number of aircraft breakdowns along this route given its ageing SAAB fleet.
Mr Bell said he was making a strong stand and would boycott using the regional airline until the customer service situation was resolved.
“There was simply no service, no concern and no respect for the people of my electorate recently from the Rex corporate,” the independent MP said at the Mount Gambier Airport yesterday.
“It is not good enough, it is something we should not put up with.”
Mr Bell revealed his stance was triggered after a plane full of passengers was left stranded in Adelaide after the aircraft was turned back from Mount Gambier due to low cloud.
“I have no issue the plane was turned around, I want to be safe,” Mr Bell said.
But he said any customer service ceased when they arrived back in Adelaide.
“We were taken to the arrival lounge, told where our luggage was and abandoned,” Mr Bell claimed.
“We were given no help to book new flights or find accommodation and Rex staff told us they were closing the office.”
“There were elderly people who were on this plane and there were no Rex representatives to assist passengers who may have had medical conditions,” Mr Bell said.
Mr Bell said he was greatly concerned Rex made a purely financial decision to treat the community in such an “appalling manner”.
Moreover, he said Rex staff did not offer to re-schedule other flights to accommodate the 20 stranded passengers.
He also revealed there were no vacancies on the first flight back to Mount Gambier the following morning or in the afternoon and only limited spots that night.
“I have written to Rex’s chief executive officer to say I will not use any services until the people of Mount Gambier are treated in a fair and reasonable manner in the future,” Mr Bell said.
“The minimum I would expect is a Rex representative ensuring that all passengers are booked on a flight the next day and if the flights are full, then an extra flight is scheduled to enable all residents of Mount Gambier to return home.
“I have already cancelled four flights to Adelaide – I will drive instead.”
Mr Bell said his criticism was not directed to Rex staff on the ground nor at the Mount Gambier Airport.
“My criticism is directed at the Rex corporate – they do not seem to care.”