Regional Express (Rex) says wining three new Queensland government regulated air route contracts has given the airline confidence to start direct flights between Cairns and Townsville.
Rex general manager of network strategy and sales Warrick Lodge says the new route heralds the start of an increased focus on Queensland.
“We will commence with a modest service on 3 January 2015 but once we have bedded in the new regulated routes we will look to ramp up services as well as look at other opportunities to service Far North Queensland,” Lodge said.
“The Rex board has decided to increase focus on Queensland and to gradually build up our resources and investments in Queensland as our way of recognising the tremendous trust placed on us by the Queensland state government through awarding all five regulated routes we applied for.”
The Queensland government awarded Rex five regulated air route contracts following the recent tender process, up from two contracts in the previous five-year term. Of those five routes, one starts in Cairns, while another originates in Townsville.
Rex said there would be 11 Saab 340 aircraft in the airline’s Queensland-based fleet operating the five regulated routes, regular public transport services as well as charter flights from January 1 2015.
The carrier will be the second airline offering direct flights between Cairns and Townsville route alongside Qantas.
“Ever since Virgin Australia exited the Cairns to Townsville route, we have been solicited to commence a competitive air service on the route to end the monopoly,” Lodge said.