Regional Express Airlines (REX) has upped the ante in its war of words with the Dubbo Regional Council (DRC).
In a strongly worded letter to Dubbo residents delivered via a mass letterbox drop, REX has accused the council of "ripping off the Dubbo travelling community of over $3 million every year through its outrageous airport head tax charges".
The airline wants the council to remove airport security screening for its planes at the Dubbo airport.
The DRC has said removing security screening was "not negotiable."
In a two-page statement printed under the REX logo and signed off by the airline's executive chairman Lim Kim Hai, REX says the council's decision to raise its airport taxes was "outrageous" and would jeopardise future flights to Dubbo.
"For FY2020, DRC is levying an additional annual net $630,000 on the community on top of the already rapacious amount of $2.9 million in annual head tax and $1.4 million in security screening charges which it charged in FY2019," the letter reads.
The REX executive chairman warns that his company could make "an irrevocable decision which could end up destroying forever the socio-economic fabric of the Dubbo community".
After 17 years servicing Dubbo and for 25 years before that as Hazleton Airlines, REX was "contemplating taking all its weekly slots altogether to other NSW regional cities".
"We have given up on talking reason to it [DRC] after trying for over 5 years," Mr Lim Kim Hai writes.
Mayor Ben Shields said the council was aware of the letter.
"We are aware that REX is again aggressively pushing its commercial agenda within our community," he said.
"Council's focus remains on working through options to discuss with REX in early December, and we will not be engaging in an unproductive slinging match with the airline through the local media.
"We will meet with the airline to discuss options for better fares for flights between Dubbo and Sydney, and ways to improve the relationship between council and REX."
Deputy Mayor Stephen Lawrence said be wouldn't be bullied by the airline.
"I reject the contents of the defamatory letter that has been leafleted to Dubbo homes by a commercial airline who want lower landing fees and reduced security screening," he said.
"I won't be bullied into selling out ratepayers.
"I will continue to make financially responsible decisions after taking expert staff advice."
WHAT DO YOU THINK? HAVE YOUR SAY