Regional Express (Rex) is further expanding its presence in North Queensland with the addition of weekday services on the Cairns-Townsville route from early July.
The airline will offer three flights a day between Cairns and Townsville on weekdays from July 6.
Rex began flying one flight on Saturdays and Sundays between Cairns and Townsville in January 2015. Under the new schedule from July 6, the airline will offer three flights a day on the route on weekdays and maintain its two weekend services.
Currently, QantasLink is the only airline offering weekday flights on the Cairns-Townsville route.
Rex general manager for network strategy and sales Warrick Lodge said the Cairns-Townsville service was expected to result in a $4 million saving in airfares a year for both communities.
“Ever since Virgin Australia exited the Cairns to Townsville route in January 2014, Rex has been heavily solicited by businesses and individuals to start a competitive air service so that the prevailing monopolistic pricing may be broken,” Lodge said.
“In response, Rex undertook a market sounding exercise to gauge business community support for Rex and the level of prevailing dissatisfaction with the incumbent monopoly.”
The move to add weekday flights on the Cairns-Townsville route continues a period of significant expansion for Rex in North Queensland.
The airline started its contract with the Queensland government on five regulated routes on January 1, launched a new Cairns-Bamaga service in March and has just started flights between Cairns and Mount Isa.
Lodge said there airline’s growth plans in Northern Queensland were “exciting and ambitious” and would bring jobs and economic benefits to the region.
“Rex intends to provide other communities of far North Queensland and the Torres Straits with an opportunity to work in partnership with us to ensure that their communities may have a sustainable, reliable and safe air service with affordable fares,” Lodge said.
“I urge everyone to give us a fair go so that the benefits are long lasting and more services can be introduced over time.”
An online comparison of ticket prices for travel from Cairns to Townsville on Monday July 6 and returning a week later showed Rex was charging $246.09, while the flights on QantasLink would cost $250, before any credit card or booking fees were added.