Regional Express (Rex) has added a Saab 340 aircraft to its Townsville base and is setting its sights on growth in Queensland following the shutdown of Skytrans.
The aircraft brings to 52 the number of Saab 340s in the Rex fleet, the airline said in a statement on Friday.
Rex general manager of network planning and strategy Warrick Lodge said Queensland was a focus for the airline given difficulties in other parts of Australia and the potential for new opportunities in the state after Skytrans closed its doors in January.
“The past 30 months have seen passenger numbers declining due to the economy and the increased competition,” Lodge said in a statement on January 30.
“Rex needs to respond to this challenge by finding growth in other areas. Queensland represents the perfect opportunity for us given its size, geography and absence of quality regional carriers.
“Rex will continue to inject more aircraft into Queensland in tandem with new opportunities opening up in the state.”
The airline currently operated five Queensland government route contracts, with its total network in the state comprising 23 destinations.
Lodge said that network gave Rex “the economies of scale to further service the more remote parts of Queensland like the Cape Peninsula, as well as respond to the solicitations of other cities that have been crying out for our great hospitable air services at affordable fares”.
Rex had planned to start new services to Cape York ports in North Queensland after Skytrans stopped flying.
However, it later dropped those plans after consulting with local communities.
Rex said the Saab 340 was acquired from Vincent Aviation, which collapsed in May 2014.