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Rex aims to rival Qantas and Virgin with capital city flights

written by Hannah Dowling | May 12, 2020
A Regional Express (Rex) Saab 340 aircraft.
A Regional Express (Rex) Saab 340 aircraft.

Rex aims to rival Qantas, Jetstar and Virgin Australia by expanding its network to service capital cities by early next year.

Deputy chairman John Sharp informed the media on Tuesday morning of the regional airline’s intention to capitalise on recent market upheaval and boost its fleet to include 10 narrow-bodied jets.

Sharp suggested that Australia “may as well” have a three-airline market, noting that the new and improved Rex is likely to sit “halfway between a full-service airline and a low-cost airline”.

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“The domestic aviation market is not going to go back to what it was three months ago so we are ready to scale up in line with demand,” he said.

“We are doing this because we see an opportunity. We have the advantage of having successfully run an airline for 18 years.”

The expansion would be funded by a $200 million capital investment, with the regional airline already in discussions with “half a dozen private equity and investment companies”, just six weeks after cautioning that government that it was on the brink of bankruptcy, and in need of financial assistance in order to continue the transport of medical tests and supplies around Australia.

The move would see Rex fly between Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth, with the intention of kicking off the new routes by early next year, when domestic travel restrictions have lifted.

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To facilitate the busier routes, Rex will lease 10 new narrow-bodied jets, likely to include Boeing 737s or Airbus A320s, just four short of matching Virgin Australia’s budget arm Tiger Air’s previous fleet size of 14.

The lease of narrow-bodied passenger jets will be a first for the regional carrier, benefiting from the global decline in aviation demand and subsequent drop in demand for aircraft.

Rex has reportedly already notified the Civil Aviation Safety Authority regarding amending its Air Operators Certificate to include jet aircraft.

Sharp noted that the airline’s jet expansion will also see Rex bolster its workforce, and is intending to hire new pilots, cabin crew and ground staff, while leveraging its existing management and corporate infrastructure to run the new services at low-cost.

He has assured that Rex will be a strong disruptor in the domestic travel market, offering capital city routes at prices far below Qantas and Virgin Australia, and highlighted that Rex will become “the only capital city operator that is debt-free”.

Sharp highlighted that even in matching the salaries paid to Jetstar captains, “we will be 20 per cent cheaper than Virgin”.

The capital investment to get Rex’s new capital city expansion moving should be finalised within the “next three weeks or so”.

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75 Comments

  • AgentGerko

    says:

    And with that announcement starts the demise of Rex. It’s Impulse all over again. You can’t jump from 35 seat props to 180 seat 737s and think that QF won’t use its size to crush you.

    • Mark

      says:

      Impulse essentially become Jetstar, so hardly a demise.

  • daniel

    says:

    Expansion to take on Qantas best of luck it may be needed

  • Paul Robson

    says:

    From the brink of bankruptcy to this!
    Amazing turnaround, courtesy of Taxpayers funds, after Sharp cried wolf!

    • harriet

      says:

      It wasn’t a cash bailout, the grant funds are being used to support the regional service?

  • Peter

    says:

    Good luck but I can’t see a happy ending.

  • Brian Sayers

    says:

    Qantas has ruthlessly demolished its competitors for decades, so it is extremely experienced in the tactics. Qantas is capable of winning any price war and have done so to kill off competition quickly, leaving a very bad taste in the Aviation community.

  • Lechuga

    says:

    Feel it will fall flat but always good to see some sort of new competition. 737/A320 seems a bit odd, personally would’ve thought something like the E-190 or A220 would’ve been slightly better at first.

  • Roderick

    says:

    Big talk coming from a little airline!
    A very good case of ‘be careful what you wish for’.

  • Flying Tiger

    says:

    Yep. I think AgentGerko has nailed it. Sad but true.

    But one wonders at the logic behind the decision. Australia has never quite been able to maintain two profitable ‘service’ airlines (Ansetts collapse, Virgins multi year losses, and the two abortive Compass attempts, are testament to that fact).

    If Virgin really are ‘gone’ (and they’re NOT!) then this may have some basis. But as it stands it just looks like another pathway to misery. Maybe not quite as ill conceived as Ozjet! But not brilliant.

  • Mark

    says:

    So, does McCormack get a kick back from his mate Sharp for this, after Rex held the government to ransom to get a bailout from taxpayers ?
    Maybe some Rex shares ?

  • Robert

    says:

    So much for its parlous financial state requiring government support. Taxpayers are getting pretty sick of companies crying demise only then to rebound in an infeasibly short time.

    • Wayne

      says:

      Spot on, Robert. Seems like the funding tap from Singapore has been turned on again.

  • Edward

    says:

    ‘Successfully running an airline for 18 years’…..Pfffft!
    QF has been doing that for 100 years’!
    BIG difference……..

    • James

      says:

      What’s your point?

    • hee

      says:

      That doesn’t mean much. How long has Holden been selling cars in Australia and how are they now?

  • john

    says:

    You forgot to mention both Compass renditions. Still, there is some good political nouse at REX!! Interesting.

  • john

    says:

    Qantas can’t compete with Rex.

    So Rex will possibly have ex Virgin B738s at something like 1/2 the lease payments Virgin was paying (& Qantas is paying on it’s leased jets). It could have ex Virgin crews on 75% or less the old Virgin pay scales & they will have to work more for less.

    Rex won’t have staff swanning around the airports like Qantas always seems to have.

    Qantas will be worried, because of the cost disadvantage they have. As soon as they try to reduce costs the unions will scream.

    Doubt if Rex will allow unions anywhere near their operation.

    It’s the perfect answer to Qantas, who will only be able to give away Qantas Club memberships if you buy so many $$$ of Qantas tickets. The Qantas Clubs might become crowded, but many corporates will be watching the dollars spent on travel in the recession.

    If Rex can do for example, 10 minimum flights a day SYD/MEL between 6am & 9pm, then that frequency will satisfy most people. If they start with 10 aircraft concentrating on the golden triangle, they might be able to do more than 10 flights a day & rather than try to fly at Jetstar type fares, they could fly at less than Qantas fares & offer instant free seats, like buy some many, get so many (at no peak times) free. So many other ways of countering Qantas, when you unit costs are lower, than the big red rat.

    • Adrian P

      says:

      Not sure how the unions can be blamed for high costs when so many of the services are provided by casual employees working for companies like dnata. The 51% requirement of Australian ownership of QANTAS becomes farcical when so many services essential to the company are carried out offshore or by foreign-ed owned entities.

  • Nicholas

    says:

    Madness, that one word says it all….

  • Kevin

    says:

    I think it’s a bold assumption they will use 737’s or A320’s. Alliance have loads of Fokker 100’s that could be leased on the cheap and would be consistent with Rex’s strategy of using second hand aircraft to keep costs down. Would also mean less seats to have to fill. And would provide some “glue” for their regional operations meaning they could offer capital city to regional destination flights on a single ticket with check-thru baggage, Lounge access etc. It’s not a silly strategy if implemented thoughtfully.

    • Chris

      says:

      I agree with you. It does have merit.

  • Bernard

    says:

    Maybe smaller jets than 737 are a better option-embraer, airbus a220? Gives more flexibility for smaller airports. Saab’s won’t be around forever so Rex has to take a shot and they are hampered range/payload wise with 340s if they want to go longer/heavier patronage routes. Good luck with it all. If Virgin reduces its plane numbers and routes it’s only Qantas at the moment who can fill it, so Rex ramping up on regional/cities seems to suggest that Virgin will be smaller if it survives and focuses on capital cities and its few international routes left instead of regional traffic?

  • T Rrgener

    says:

    I chose some years ago to never fly Rex due to a range of bad experiences. At least the propeller can’t fall off a jet engine. I share the sentiments that they have gone from near bankruptcy to cashed up capital courtesy of the taxpayers.

    • Matt

      says:

      What a stupid comment. I guess you don’t fly QF either in case they overrun the runway again.

  • Nick

    says:

    Wow! Claims almost bankrupt, asks for taxpayers money (and also takes that money) but then sneakily/cheekily puts itself in a position to fly major trunk routes. Something doesn’t smell right here…..

  • Lucas

    says:

    If there is anything to learn here is that the chairman LKH is a very savvy investor. He knows that he will have a lower cost base than any other airline in Australia. I wouldn’t ride them off too early! As an ex Rex employee I can tell you he runs the place like clock work.

  • Peter

    says:

    Just dangling that jet carrot so their pilots won’t look elsewhere

  • AlanH

    says:

    Jets! Capital city routes! Really Mr Sharp? After all the crocodile tears of the last month and virtually holding the Government to ransom (to which Dep PM Mike McCormack caved) they now have the temerity to think they can just move into the big boys’ game! Best of luck! Others have tried and died. I’m with Agentgerko and Lechuga. This won’t end well for Rex. If the market and economy are so depressed that they see an opportunity to make some headway why not re-examine their regional network and beef it up with more destinations and newer and more efficient aircraft? After all, that is their raison d’etre, “Regional Express”. Mr Sharp should consider a job in politics along with his National Party mates. He is very good at double-speak!

  • Voltron

    says:

    Sharp “has assured that Rex will be a strong disruptor in the domestic travel market…”

    As if we need more disruption in the Australian airline industry since the pandemic we’ve all been experiencing the effects.
    Sharp was quick with his hand out for government money for the B. S. excuse of flying regional corona virus tests when this could have been done with existing freight & charter capacity then announces massive expansion plans in the wake of the Virgin Australia administration.
    This doesn’t sound right.

  • gary

    says:

    Lechuga

    Why would anyone order A220s when some very new B737/A320s parked. There are literally hundreds of them, if not 1000s.

    Even if VA revived, they won’t use 1/2 of their B737s.

    & EDWARD
    ‘Successfully running an airline for 18 years’…..Pfffft!
    QF has been doing that for 100 years’!

    QF almost went under 7 years ago, even with all their govt contracts.

    QF domestic where all the money is, has only been around since the 1990s. It was Australian before the govt gave Australian to Qantas.

    • Edward

      says:

      Gary, QANTAS is our National Airline. It was an International Airline before Australian Airlines was sold to it in 1992.
      Yes, it had a bad 2014, but has since turned around to massive profit, THE biggest in corporate Australia, in any 12 month time span.
      It celebrates its’ Centenary this year, & the Company has always had QANTAS in its’ name.

      • bd

        says:

        Consumers don’t care about the time a business has been running or whether they’re Australian and the average Australian does not consider QANTAS as “our” airline anymore than they would consider REX or Virgin to be ‘ours’.

        Look at what has happened in other industries for crying out loud.
        Compare Simpson appliances, who have been in Australia for over 150 years to Samsung or any other number of asian appliance brands that have only been here for a fraction of the time but now dominate the sales. Holden is another 150 year old Australian brand beaten by a bunch of newer Asian brands.

        Do you really think consumers are swayed by years of Australian history and centenary celebrations?

    • Davifd G

      says:

      Agree. Not sure where you would get a fleet of A220’s at short notice, and a good leasing deal, when there are (or soon will be) heaps of A320/B737’s sitting idle. In addition, there would not be too many A220 endorsed pilots in Australia compared to the bigger 320/737 qualified.

  • Linda Weaving

    says:

    Is he CRAZY???
    Is he searching for insolvency???
    Ansett went under, Virgin went under, but he thinks he has miraculous powers to avoid their fate?
    No sir. The lesson here is that there is not room for a second major airline in Australia.
    We are not in an international corridor. We will never be an intercontinental transit zone.
    Aviators here need to get over themselves & realise that Sydney is not London, Brisbane is not Dubai, Melbourne is not LA. As far as the rest of the world is concerned, Australia is a backwater. Live within your means guys!
    We don’t want this cycle of bankruptcies to continue!

    • gf

      says:

      A very narrow minded comment Linda.
      Is the key to airline success being in an “international corridor” or “transit zone”? Many airlines around the world have gone bust for various reasons but I somehow doubt whether or not being in a “international corridor” or not had anything to do with.
      Qantas only carried 65% of the domestic market and just 15% of International last year. Plenty of room for another airline.

  • Mark

    says:

    The South Australian press has reported regional councils in that state has told Rex to go away due the airlines constant demands for reduction in charges

  • Linda Weaving

    says:

    If he’s got that much money then he should hand back every cent he was gifted by Australian taxpayers! The corporate equivalent of a dole bludger.

  • Andy Hegh

    says:

    Just tell him he’s dreaming.

  • Russell M

    says:

    Excuse me Brisbane and Sydney Airport Owners, if you don’t reduce my landing fees for my jets, I’ll jump up and down lots and squeal lots and stop flying them in there, you just wait, I’m telling you, I’m going to shirt-front you, you bet……etc.

    Can’t quite see the standard Rex business model working here.

  • Russell M

    says:

    I remember another little SAAB airline which was doing pretty well flying turboprops around, had a good operation.
    They had a crack at Jets (CRJs) and tried to cover some thin routes for their big brother airline.
    From memory, the crews had quite a bit of trouble jumping from Turbos to Jets (very clearly evident on a couple of flights I had with them) and they ended up having the Canadian contract Captains there for a lot longer.
    Stick with what works, stop asking for government handouts and frankly, hush up.

  • Bob

    says:

    Don’t underestimate LKH he is very astute and knows how to operate a very efficient and lean airline. The senior
    management has been around for a long time. Rex might not have all the bells and whistles that Qantas and Virgin included in their airline but the only thing’s travellers want is on time departure cheerful staff and now reasonable airfares. After the last few months companies will not be authorising air travel that can be substituted with internet conferencing Domestic travel will be slow to pick up although domestic holiday travel may have a rapid rise but that will depend on the various attractions and hotels keep their prices more attractive than overseas establishments, otherwise Australians will lose the advantages

  • Gaby

    says:

    Well perhaps it is a Trojan Horse. Say you have no Tiger but this is a handshake to make a new Jetstar competitor to merge with a new Virgin some way down the track. Just like compass let Qantas have a cheaper crew etc when it bought Compass. It may not be what it appears to be as that seems so silly on the surface.

    BTW, why doesn’t the new Virgin just dump the name and stop paying Richard. Like Caltex becoming Ampol again in Australia. You may as well rebuild the brand anyway.

    • James

      says:

      When did Qantas buy Compass?

      Are you referring to Impulse…

      • Gaby

        says:

        err yes!

  • Steve A

    says:

    Now is the best time for any start up to join the fight. Despite what the Qantas spin doctors tell people is reality at Qantas, it’s not being well-managed by AJ. He has done incredibly well for himself managing to scam $90 million during his tenure off the poor ever-suffering QF shareholders whilst dishing them up 7 consecutive years without dividends, and only an average annual dividend of just 8 cps. He has used up $3.1 billion of their free cashflow buying back shares at their peak price, and brought back $9 million of shares off himself at $5.85 per share with their money. And how much are those shares worth now? Half that, so he has caused shareholders some massive capital losses in his time with his actions. And he has been forced to mortgage up the B787-9’s because there is not a lot else to borrow against. His asset-ageing of the QF fleet has gone on unabated. He has asset-stripped QF too. Sold off QF terminal assets at both SYD and MEL to boost “profits ” to increase management bonuses, as well as Q Catering and Snap Fresh to dnata. Unless he can get QF’s cash burn rate under control, he will need to go to the market to raise money for the future of QF. He just doesn’t have the cash to spend $7-800 million on another attempt to knock VA and anyone else out of the market. Now is the perfect and only time to have a crack at cutting the feet out from under him. Leave it until later and he will have re-grouped and you know how nasty he gets like when he doesn’t get his own way. He ‘warns ‘ the Prime Minister not to bail out VA, he threatens Jetstar pilots that he will sell Jetstar aircraft and put them out of a job if they don’t take his pay offer, and he threatens Qantas pilots that he will get other pilots to do their jobs if they don’t buckle under and take his offer. It couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

  • Propellorhead

    says:

    Rex who?

  • Meepa

    says:

    Relax, its called “Jaw boning”. LKH is talking down the VA prices and offering a path for the other investors to jump on a debt free AOC, in a joint venture I am sure.
    Either way, I hope Indigo just take over the Tigerair AOC and bring the A320’s back but do what Virgin didnt do, let them have 35+ aircraft and take it on properly!

  • Chopper Boy

    says:

    Where does this leave regional Australia when Rex folds after its demise after poking the bear(s)?

  • stuart

    says:

    whilst I applaud Rex for having a go at taking on the big duopoly (well possibly monopoly pending Virgins outcome) history shows they will not succeed. Those who understand the history of airline economics in australia, particularly the history of Compass 1 and 2 would agree. The barriers to entry put up by the incumbent airlines killed compass , they control the airports and gates and if you want a gate and aerobridge slot suited to a jet then u deal with them. Additionally if you take on the big boys in town, beware what’s known as predatory behaviour. They can throw capacity and slash fares well beyond what Rex can afford. Lets not also forget, Rex were crying poor only a couple weeks ago, how deep are their pockets going to be to take on the majors. waste of investors money if you ask me…

  • Patrick

    says:

    Hmmmm……as agentgerko suggested, another Impulse?

    Rex making themselves seem more attractive for a potential take over in the future?

  • TD

    says:

    Rex may very well think twice when the airport managers send them a bill; especially when they won’t get a bailout by Dep PM next time. Any cheap fares would be cheap because their crews subsidize the operations in various ways to keep a job. Good luck to them as it will be the beginning of the end .A challenge for the overseas owner.

  • Red Cee

    says:

    Hope REX plan on opening up all their current routes for competition. Without doing that, it isn’t a fair game for all. After all, why should REX have a monopoly, yet be allowed to compete for the cream?

    • Womble

      says:

      Rex’s current routes have been open for competition. Rex claims Qantas came into their Adelaide – Kangaroo Island route in 2017 dumping capacity and increasing capacity by at least 100% on the route. As of February 2020, Rex announced its withdrawal from the route because of excess capacity making it unviable and was lodging a complaint with the ACC.

  • Herbert Duckmanton.

    says:

    I’m with John and Kevin on this Rex’onian strategy.

  • Dennis

    says:

    Those that are stating REX should use different aircraft such as the A220 just don’t seem to understand how this game works. If you choose the A220 there is a lot of extra cost to be managed. You will need a Simulator to be available in Australia to keep travel costs down, you need engineers with 6 months experience on type, you need all the spare parts in Australia otherwise your delays will kill you, you also need C&T Pilots with experience on type, and freshly trained cabin crew. CASA will also need some hoops to be jumped through with an aircraft type not seen in the country in RPT. This is just the tip of the iceberg, there are so many hidden costs with a new aircraft type that kills the idea. If REX goes with 737 there is currently an abundance of all the above available and on short notice.
    Virgin tried the E190 and it was not a good result.

    • James

      says:

      Virgin weren’t the first operator of the E series in Australia Dennis. The above mentioned had nothing to do with them being parked.

  • Michael

    says:

    right now you can almost name what you want to pay to lease 10 of the many thousands of Boeing 737s or Airbus A320s parked around the world.

    Even if Virgin gets get going again, many of their leased aircraft won’t be required, along with many staff, so Rex timing is perfect. 1st the chairman says Virgin admin is a huge mess & then this, so 19 supposed bidders for virgin, might drop to 1 or zero.

    Can see 10 ex Virgin 737-800 almost immediately, with another 10 or so, pegged for leased over the next 12-24 months (no one else will probably lease them). Presume it would be much easier to use aircraft that were already OZ registered & presume all are virtually exactly the same.

    Rex would have to change much except paint out the world virgin & replace with word Rex.

    I think Qantas share price is going to take another huge dive.

  • Noodles

    says:

    isn’t it the right ideal to at least have a go. We must have competition in the market place especially in the “golden triangles” here in OZ.
    If you don’t ask the question you will NEVER know the answer. Surely all REX staff across the board must want to give it a crack at the jets……….but without asking for any handouts. If we are left with the BRK only then our prices will be unaffordable – more families taking extended holidays by motor vehicle = more road fatalities

  • Womble

    says:

    Actually, what all this says is that Australia needs to stop being naive about competition and realise that through a series of accidental events and long term better management at Qantas, that Qantas/Jetstar has reached a point of long term unassailable position. But it is easier to have better management from the dominant position especially if you become too big to fail.

    Therefore, Australian regulation has to stop being ridiculously naive and restrain Qantas from killing off its competitors one by one or together by flooding the market. These retraints need to be applied within the day that damaging behaviour occurs and the penalties need to have real teeth. This will require legislative support.

    I hope they find some Fokkers or some A320s for their jets.

  • Matty

    says:

    If they run flights between Sydney and Melbourne via Albury and flights between Brisbane and Sydney via Port Macquarie or Coffs they might have a chance, and only if they operate aircraft similar to F100 or EMB 170 much the same as East West did in the 1980’s.

    • shsfgh

      says:

      Why would people going for Syd to Melb or Bris want to stop in one of those country towns?

    • Plane

      says:

      And how well did East West go at that again?

    • James

      says:

      Matty. The airlines are no longer deregulated. Why would doing that give them an advantage?

  • Clive

    says:

    What country in the world with a population of 25 million has more than one domestic full service airline? I cannot think of any. Australia with a population of 25 million does not have the critical mass to support more than one domestic full service carrier. 100 years of Australian aviation history has proven that. With the exception of QANTAS and TAA which was absorbed into QANTAS, all have failed.

    • Plane

      says:

      Rex competes with Qantas on a number of it’s routes already. And sometimes Virgin as well. It survives on these routes by filling gaps in larger competitors’ schedules with smaller planes.

      Think of what they could do if they took Tiger terminal space and airspace slots, using small jets.

  • Paul

    says:

    Erm… what slots will they be using at SYD during peak? No slots at SYD in peak means no business travellers. No business travellers means essentially a pure leisure airline – right in the market sector where QF can use Jetstar to compete (so they won’t be losing any sleep over this idea) and who the hell knows what VA might think up next? Being in the middle space as they suggest they will target (“… somewhere between a full service and discount airline…”) simply means you are vulnerable to attack from above and below and QF/Jetstar have the arsenal to deal with this one in short order. AgentGerko summarised perfectly.

  • Ten Tribes of Texas

    says:

    The saabs must be able to do some routes. Example , Canberra to Melb and Canberra to Syd. They already fly Albury to Syd and that’s longer than Canberra to Syd.

  • Jake

    says:

    Rex, you need to go Airbus’s, and get the guys from TT Sydney to crew them!
    They know how to operate in a low cost environment already, they also have Check A and LTP’s there.
    Its a no brainer to get cheap MODERN, efficient aircraft to run the triangle with little training costs.
    Then, the ground services can be temporarily conducted by Swissport while you cherry pick your own ground staff for that too.
    You already have your own catering company, so you can ramp up some sophistication in that and your good to go 🙂
    Then, after the first 5 or so are set up, then you start increasing the fleet size slowly with your Rex pilots and then recruit to the SAAB to fill the gaps. Simple win win for all!

  • john

    says:

    Nope, nope and nope. Australia cannot and will not have 2 domestic full service airlines, history tells you that. QF has a line in the sand of 65% with a competitor 35%. Don’t shake the bear!! The only time 2 FSA”s survived was with the trashed 2 airline policy. It was trashed because “we” screamed competition, etc etc, and now that we have a dominant airline, we now scream “unfair” because of competition. I fear we really don’t know what we want (unless we are a unionist!!). I don’t think I will go down that track, because look at the “cosy” situation they had at Ansett. Please read the book “The Rise and Fall of Ansett” to learn about union practices, and actions by Owners and Management. VA OR Rex will survive if they understand “Do not shake the Bear” but only one of them, not both. A320 or 737 fleet for jets, nothing else. cheers
    .

  • Paul

    says:

    Rex have grossly underestimated the work required to amend their AOC, the experience required of the post holders in high capacity jet operations, the complexities of the check and training system, the requirements to actually properly calculate performance data, the engineering requirements and associated system of maintenance, the FRMS, crew management, safety management aspects and a myriad of other things.

    If they think they are going to be up and running by early next year using their current management team they are in for one massive surprise! And not a good one

  • Mark White

    says:

    Another opportunity for Rex would be to fly from larger regional cities eg Albury, Wagga Wagga, Dubbo, Orange, Tamworth, Armidale, Bendigo,Port Macquarie, Coffs Harbour to offer services to Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra, Gold Coast and Brisbane using jet services.

  • Doug

    says:

    Their current aircraft operate from Moorabbin?? Good move if possible

  • Pablo

    says:

    I hope they take over the former TigerAir Jet Routes, Coffs Harbour to BNE & MEL would be a good start, however I think Embraer Aircraft (2 & 2 seating) would be better suited to there proposed Capital -> Capital operations & I read elsewhere they were looking at the possibility of moving away from The SAAB340 Aircraft more to ward the ATR Turbo Props which VA Regional (Former SkyWest) presently operate, this would put REX on a equal footing with QFLink Dash 8 Operations for speed & comfort, being similar size aircraft

  • Christine Robinson

    says:

    After reading these comments having cheap flights are a good thing but once again reginal nsw will miss out again we fly rex albury to sydney as pricing can be cheaper than the others catch a qantas flight once in the air plane vibration frightens the S–T out of you please think of us in the bush as we always miss out

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Rex aims to rival Qantas and Virgin with capital city flights

written by Hannah Dowling | May 12, 2020
A Regional Express (Rex) Saab 340 aircraft.
A Regional Express (Rex) Saab 340 aircraft.

Rex aims to rival Qantas, Jetstar and Virgin Australia by expanding its network to service capital cities by early next year.

Deputy chairman John Sharp informed the media on Tuesday morning of the regional airline’s intention to capitalise on recent market upheaval and boost its fleet to include 10 narrow-bodied jets.

Sharp suggested that Australia “may as well” have a three-airline market, noting that the new and improved Rex is likely to sit “halfway between a full-service airline and a low-cost airline”.

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“The domestic aviation market is not going to go back to what it was three months ago so we are ready to scale up in line with demand,” he said.

“We are doing this because we see an opportunity. We have the advantage of having successfully run an airline for 18 years.”

The expansion would be funded by a $200 million capital investment, with the regional airline already in discussions with “half a dozen private equity and investment companies”, just six weeks after cautioning that government that it was on the brink of bankruptcy, and in need of financial assistance in order to continue the transport of medical tests and supplies around Australia.

The move would see Rex fly between Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth, with the intention of kicking off the new routes by early next year, when domestic travel restrictions have lifted.

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To facilitate the busier routes, Rex will lease 10 new narrow-bodied jets, likely to include Boeing 737s or Airbus A320s, just four short of matching Virgin Australia’s budget arm Tiger Air’s previous fleet size of 14.

The lease of narrow-bodied passenger jets will be a first for the regional carrier, benefiting from the global decline in aviation demand and subsequent drop in demand for aircraft.

Rex has reportedly already notified the Civil Aviation Safety Authority regarding amending its Air Operators Certificate to include jet aircraft.

Sharp noted that the airline’s jet expansion will also see Rex bolster its workforce, and is intending to hire new pilots, cabin crew and ground staff, while leveraging its existing management and corporate infrastructure to run the new services at low-cost.

He has assured that Rex will be a strong disruptor in the domestic travel market, offering capital city routes at prices far below Qantas and Virgin Australia, and highlighted that Rex will become “the only capital city operator that is debt-free”.

Sharp highlighted that even in matching the salaries paid to Jetstar captains, “we will be 20 per cent cheaper than Virgin”.

The capital investment to get Rex’s new capital city expansion moving should be finalised within the “next three weeks or so”.

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75 Comments

  • AgentGerko

    says:

    And with that announcement starts the demise of Rex. It’s Impulse all over again. You can’t jump from 35 seat props to 180 seat 737s and think that QF won’t use its size to crush you.

    • Mark

      says:

      Impulse essentially become Jetstar, so hardly a demise.

  • daniel

    says:

    Expansion to take on Qantas best of luck it may be needed

  • Paul Robson

    says:

    From the brink of bankruptcy to this!
    Amazing turnaround, courtesy of Taxpayers funds, after Sharp cried wolf!

    • harriet

      says:

      It wasn’t a cash bailout, the grant funds are being used to support the regional service?

  • Peter

    says:

    Good luck but I can’t see a happy ending.

  • Brian Sayers

    says:

    Qantas has ruthlessly demolished its competitors for decades, so it is extremely experienced in the tactics. Qantas is capable of winning any price war and have done so to kill off competition quickly, leaving a very bad taste in the Aviation community.

  • Lechuga

    says:

    Feel it will fall flat but always good to see some sort of new competition. 737/A320 seems a bit odd, personally would’ve thought something like the E-190 or A220 would’ve been slightly better at first.

  • Roderick

    says:

    Big talk coming from a little airline!
    A very good case of ‘be careful what you wish for’.

  • Flying Tiger

    says:

    Yep. I think AgentGerko has nailed it. Sad but true.

    But one wonders at the logic behind the decision. Australia has never quite been able to maintain two profitable ‘service’ airlines (Ansetts collapse, Virgins multi year losses, and the two abortive Compass attempts, are testament to that fact).

    If Virgin really are ‘gone’ (and they’re NOT!) then this may have some basis. But as it stands it just looks like another pathway to misery. Maybe not quite as ill conceived as Ozjet! But not brilliant.

  • Mark

    says:

    So, does McCormack get a kick back from his mate Sharp for this, after Rex held the government to ransom to get a bailout from taxpayers ?
    Maybe some Rex shares ?

  • Robert

    says:

    So much for its parlous financial state requiring government support. Taxpayers are getting pretty sick of companies crying demise only then to rebound in an infeasibly short time.

    • Wayne

      says:

      Spot on, Robert. Seems like the funding tap from Singapore has been turned on again.

  • Edward

    says:

    ‘Successfully running an airline for 18 years’…..Pfffft!
    QF has been doing that for 100 years’!
    BIG difference……..

    • James

      says:

      What’s your point?

    • hee

      says:

      That doesn’t mean much. How long has Holden been selling cars in Australia and how are they now?

  • john

    says:

    You forgot to mention both Compass renditions. Still, there is some good political nouse at REX!! Interesting.

  • john

    says:

    Qantas can’t compete with Rex.

    So Rex will possibly have ex Virgin B738s at something like 1/2 the lease payments Virgin was paying (& Qantas is paying on it’s leased jets). It could have ex Virgin crews on 75% or less the old Virgin pay scales & they will have to work more for less.

    Rex won’t have staff swanning around the airports like Qantas always seems to have.

    Qantas will be worried, because of the cost disadvantage they have. As soon as they try to reduce costs the unions will scream.

    Doubt if Rex will allow unions anywhere near their operation.

    It’s the perfect answer to Qantas, who will only be able to give away Qantas Club memberships if you buy so many $$$ of Qantas tickets. The Qantas Clubs might become crowded, but many corporates will be watching the dollars spent on travel in the recession.

    If Rex can do for example, 10 minimum flights a day SYD/MEL between 6am & 9pm, then that frequency will satisfy most people. If they start with 10 aircraft concentrating on the golden triangle, they might be able to do more than 10 flights a day & rather than try to fly at Jetstar type fares, they could fly at less than Qantas fares & offer instant free seats, like buy some many, get so many (at no peak times) free. So many other ways of countering Qantas, when you unit costs are lower, than the big red rat.

    • Adrian P

      says:

      Not sure how the unions can be blamed for high costs when so many of the services are provided by casual employees working for companies like dnata. The 51% requirement of Australian ownership of QANTAS becomes farcical when so many services essential to the company are carried out offshore or by foreign-ed owned entities.

  • Nicholas

    says:

    Madness, that one word says it all….

  • Kevin

    says:

    I think it’s a bold assumption they will use 737’s or A320’s. Alliance have loads of Fokker 100’s that could be leased on the cheap and would be consistent with Rex’s strategy of using second hand aircraft to keep costs down. Would also mean less seats to have to fill. And would provide some “glue” for their regional operations meaning they could offer capital city to regional destination flights on a single ticket with check-thru baggage, Lounge access etc. It’s not a silly strategy if implemented thoughtfully.

    • Chris

      says:

      I agree with you. It does have merit.

  • Bernard

    says:

    Maybe smaller jets than 737 are a better option-embraer, airbus a220? Gives more flexibility for smaller airports. Saab’s won’t be around forever so Rex has to take a shot and they are hampered range/payload wise with 340s if they want to go longer/heavier patronage routes. Good luck with it all. If Virgin reduces its plane numbers and routes it’s only Qantas at the moment who can fill it, so Rex ramping up on regional/cities seems to suggest that Virgin will be smaller if it survives and focuses on capital cities and its few international routes left instead of regional traffic?

  • T Rrgener

    says:

    I chose some years ago to never fly Rex due to a range of bad experiences. At least the propeller can’t fall off a jet engine. I share the sentiments that they have gone from near bankruptcy to cashed up capital courtesy of the taxpayers.

    • Matt

      says:

      What a stupid comment. I guess you don’t fly QF either in case they overrun the runway again.

  • Nick

    says:

    Wow! Claims almost bankrupt, asks for taxpayers money (and also takes that money) but then sneakily/cheekily puts itself in a position to fly major trunk routes. Something doesn’t smell right here…..

  • Lucas

    says:

    If there is anything to learn here is that the chairman LKH is a very savvy investor. He knows that he will have a lower cost base than any other airline in Australia. I wouldn’t ride them off too early! As an ex Rex employee I can tell you he runs the place like clock work.

  • Peter

    says:

    Just dangling that jet carrot so their pilots won’t look elsewhere

  • AlanH

    says:

    Jets! Capital city routes! Really Mr Sharp? After all the crocodile tears of the last month and virtually holding the Government to ransom (to which Dep PM Mike McCormack caved) they now have the temerity to think they can just move into the big boys’ game! Best of luck! Others have tried and died. I’m with Agentgerko and Lechuga. This won’t end well for Rex. If the market and economy are so depressed that they see an opportunity to make some headway why not re-examine their regional network and beef it up with more destinations and newer and more efficient aircraft? After all, that is their raison d’etre, “Regional Express”. Mr Sharp should consider a job in politics along with his National Party mates. He is very good at double-speak!

  • Voltron

    says:

    Sharp “has assured that Rex will be a strong disruptor in the domestic travel market…”

    As if we need more disruption in the Australian airline industry since the pandemic we’ve all been experiencing the effects.
    Sharp was quick with his hand out for government money for the B. S. excuse of flying regional corona virus tests when this could have been done with existing freight & charter capacity then announces massive expansion plans in the wake of the Virgin Australia administration.
    This doesn’t sound right.

  • gary

    says:

    Lechuga

    Why would anyone order A220s when some very new B737/A320s parked. There are literally hundreds of them, if not 1000s.

    Even if VA revived, they won’t use 1/2 of their B737s.

    & EDWARD
    ‘Successfully running an airline for 18 years’…..Pfffft!
    QF has been doing that for 100 years’!

    QF almost went under 7 years ago, even with all their govt contracts.

    QF domestic where all the money is, has only been around since the 1990s. It was Australian before the govt gave Australian to Qantas.

    • Edward

      says:

      Gary, QANTAS is our National Airline. It was an International Airline before Australian Airlines was sold to it in 1992.
      Yes, it had a bad 2014, but has since turned around to massive profit, THE biggest in corporate Australia, in any 12 month time span.
      It celebrates its’ Centenary this year, & the Company has always had QANTAS in its’ name.

      • bd

        says:

        Consumers don’t care about the time a business has been running or whether they’re Australian and the average Australian does not consider QANTAS as “our” airline anymore than they would consider REX or Virgin to be ‘ours’.

        Look at what has happened in other industries for crying out loud.
        Compare Simpson appliances, who have been in Australia for over 150 years to Samsung or any other number of asian appliance brands that have only been here for a fraction of the time but now dominate the sales. Holden is another 150 year old Australian brand beaten by a bunch of newer Asian brands.

        Do you really think consumers are swayed by years of Australian history and centenary celebrations?

    • Davifd G

      says:

      Agree. Not sure where you would get a fleet of A220’s at short notice, and a good leasing deal, when there are (or soon will be) heaps of A320/B737’s sitting idle. In addition, there would not be too many A220 endorsed pilots in Australia compared to the bigger 320/737 qualified.

  • Linda Weaving

    says:

    Is he CRAZY???
    Is he searching for insolvency???
    Ansett went under, Virgin went under, but he thinks he has miraculous powers to avoid their fate?
    No sir. The lesson here is that there is not room for a second major airline in Australia.
    We are not in an international corridor. We will never be an intercontinental transit zone.
    Aviators here need to get over themselves & realise that Sydney is not London, Brisbane is not Dubai, Melbourne is not LA. As far as the rest of the world is concerned, Australia is a backwater. Live within your means guys!
    We don’t want this cycle of bankruptcies to continue!

    • gf

      says:

      A very narrow minded comment Linda.
      Is the key to airline success being in an “international corridor” or “transit zone”? Many airlines around the world have gone bust for various reasons but I somehow doubt whether or not being in a “international corridor” or not had anything to do with.
      Qantas only carried 65% of the domestic market and just 15% of International last year. Plenty of room for another airline.

  • Mark

    says:

    The South Australian press has reported regional councils in that state has told Rex to go away due the airlines constant demands for reduction in charges

  • Linda Weaving

    says:

    If he’s got that much money then he should hand back every cent he was gifted by Australian taxpayers! The corporate equivalent of a dole bludger.

  • Andy Hegh

    says:

    Just tell him he’s dreaming.

  • Russell M

    says:

    Excuse me Brisbane and Sydney Airport Owners, if you don’t reduce my landing fees for my jets, I’ll jump up and down lots and squeal lots and stop flying them in there, you just wait, I’m telling you, I’m going to shirt-front you, you bet……etc.

    Can’t quite see the standard Rex business model working here.

  • Russell M

    says:

    I remember another little SAAB airline which was doing pretty well flying turboprops around, had a good operation.
    They had a crack at Jets (CRJs) and tried to cover some thin routes for their big brother airline.
    From memory, the crews had quite a bit of trouble jumping from Turbos to Jets (very clearly evident on a couple of flights I had with them) and they ended up having the Canadian contract Captains there for a lot longer.
    Stick with what works, stop asking for government handouts and frankly, hush up.

  • Bob

    says:

    Don’t underestimate LKH he is very astute and knows how to operate a very efficient and lean airline. The senior
    management has been around for a long time. Rex might not have all the bells and whistles that Qantas and Virgin included in their airline but the only thing’s travellers want is on time departure cheerful staff and now reasonable airfares. After the last few months companies will not be authorising air travel that can be substituted with internet conferencing Domestic travel will be slow to pick up although domestic holiday travel may have a rapid rise but that will depend on the various attractions and hotels keep their prices more attractive than overseas establishments, otherwise Australians will lose the advantages

  • Gaby

    says:

    Well perhaps it is a Trojan Horse. Say you have no Tiger but this is a handshake to make a new Jetstar competitor to merge with a new Virgin some way down the track. Just like compass let Qantas have a cheaper crew etc when it bought Compass. It may not be what it appears to be as that seems so silly on the surface.

    BTW, why doesn’t the new Virgin just dump the name and stop paying Richard. Like Caltex becoming Ampol again in Australia. You may as well rebuild the brand anyway.

    • James

      says:

      When did Qantas buy Compass?

      Are you referring to Impulse…

      • Gaby

        says:

        err yes!

  • Steve A

    says:

    Now is the best time for any start up to join the fight. Despite what the Qantas spin doctors tell people is reality at Qantas, it’s not being well-managed by AJ. He has done incredibly well for himself managing to scam $90 million during his tenure off the poor ever-suffering QF shareholders whilst dishing them up 7 consecutive years without dividends, and only an average annual dividend of just 8 cps. He has used up $3.1 billion of their free cashflow buying back shares at their peak price, and brought back $9 million of shares off himself at $5.85 per share with their money. And how much are those shares worth now? Half that, so he has caused shareholders some massive capital losses in his time with his actions. And he has been forced to mortgage up the B787-9’s because there is not a lot else to borrow against. His asset-ageing of the QF fleet has gone on unabated. He has asset-stripped QF too. Sold off QF terminal assets at both SYD and MEL to boost “profits ” to increase management bonuses, as well as Q Catering and Snap Fresh to dnata. Unless he can get QF’s cash burn rate under control, he will need to go to the market to raise money for the future of QF. He just doesn’t have the cash to spend $7-800 million on another attempt to knock VA and anyone else out of the market. Now is the perfect and only time to have a crack at cutting the feet out from under him. Leave it until later and he will have re-grouped and you know how nasty he gets like when he doesn’t get his own way. He ‘warns ‘ the Prime Minister not to bail out VA, he threatens Jetstar pilots that he will sell Jetstar aircraft and put them out of a job if they don’t take his pay offer, and he threatens Qantas pilots that he will get other pilots to do their jobs if they don’t buckle under and take his offer. It couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

  • Propellorhead

    says:

    Rex who?

  • Meepa

    says:

    Relax, its called “Jaw boning”. LKH is talking down the VA prices and offering a path for the other investors to jump on a debt free AOC, in a joint venture I am sure.
    Either way, I hope Indigo just take over the Tigerair AOC and bring the A320’s back but do what Virgin didnt do, let them have 35+ aircraft and take it on properly!

  • Chopper Boy

    says:

    Where does this leave regional Australia when Rex folds after its demise after poking the bear(s)?

  • stuart

    says:

    whilst I applaud Rex for having a go at taking on the big duopoly (well possibly monopoly pending Virgins outcome) history shows they will not succeed. Those who understand the history of airline economics in australia, particularly the history of Compass 1 and 2 would agree. The barriers to entry put up by the incumbent airlines killed compass , they control the airports and gates and if you want a gate and aerobridge slot suited to a jet then u deal with them. Additionally if you take on the big boys in town, beware what’s known as predatory behaviour. They can throw capacity and slash fares well beyond what Rex can afford. Lets not also forget, Rex were crying poor only a couple weeks ago, how deep are their pockets going to be to take on the majors. waste of investors money if you ask me…

  • Patrick

    says:

    Hmmmm……as agentgerko suggested, another Impulse?

    Rex making themselves seem more attractive for a potential take over in the future?

  • TD

    says:

    Rex may very well think twice when the airport managers send them a bill; especially when they won’t get a bailout by Dep PM next time. Any cheap fares would be cheap because their crews subsidize the operations in various ways to keep a job. Good luck to them as it will be the beginning of the end .A challenge for the overseas owner.

  • Red Cee

    says:

    Hope REX plan on opening up all their current routes for competition. Without doing that, it isn’t a fair game for all. After all, why should REX have a monopoly, yet be allowed to compete for the cream?

    • Womble

      says:

      Rex’s current routes have been open for competition. Rex claims Qantas came into their Adelaide – Kangaroo Island route in 2017 dumping capacity and increasing capacity by at least 100% on the route. As of February 2020, Rex announced its withdrawal from the route because of excess capacity making it unviable and was lodging a complaint with the ACC.

  • Herbert Duckmanton.

    says:

    I’m with John and Kevin on this Rex’onian strategy.

  • Dennis

    says:

    Those that are stating REX should use different aircraft such as the A220 just don’t seem to understand how this game works. If you choose the A220 there is a lot of extra cost to be managed. You will need a Simulator to be available in Australia to keep travel costs down, you need engineers with 6 months experience on type, you need all the spare parts in Australia otherwise your delays will kill you, you also need C&T Pilots with experience on type, and freshly trained cabin crew. CASA will also need some hoops to be jumped through with an aircraft type not seen in the country in RPT. This is just the tip of the iceberg, there are so many hidden costs with a new aircraft type that kills the idea. If REX goes with 737 there is currently an abundance of all the above available and on short notice.
    Virgin tried the E190 and it was not a good result.

    • James

      says:

      Virgin weren’t the first operator of the E series in Australia Dennis. The above mentioned had nothing to do with them being parked.

  • Michael

    says:

    right now you can almost name what you want to pay to lease 10 of the many thousands of Boeing 737s or Airbus A320s parked around the world.

    Even if Virgin gets get going again, many of their leased aircraft won’t be required, along with many staff, so Rex timing is perfect. 1st the chairman says Virgin admin is a huge mess & then this, so 19 supposed bidders for virgin, might drop to 1 or zero.

    Can see 10 ex Virgin 737-800 almost immediately, with another 10 or so, pegged for leased over the next 12-24 months (no one else will probably lease them). Presume it would be much easier to use aircraft that were already OZ registered & presume all are virtually exactly the same.

    Rex would have to change much except paint out the world virgin & replace with word Rex.

    I think Qantas share price is going to take another huge dive.

  • Noodles

    says:

    isn’t it the right ideal to at least have a go. We must have competition in the market place especially in the “golden triangles” here in OZ.
    If you don’t ask the question you will NEVER know the answer. Surely all REX staff across the board must want to give it a crack at the jets……….but without asking for any handouts. If we are left with the BRK only then our prices will be unaffordable – more families taking extended holidays by motor vehicle = more road fatalities

  • Womble

    says:

    Actually, what all this says is that Australia needs to stop being naive about competition and realise that through a series of accidental events and long term better management at Qantas, that Qantas/Jetstar has reached a point of long term unassailable position. But it is easier to have better management from the dominant position especially if you become too big to fail.

    Therefore, Australian regulation has to stop being ridiculously naive and restrain Qantas from killing off its competitors one by one or together by flooding the market. These retraints need to be applied within the day that damaging behaviour occurs and the penalties need to have real teeth. This will require legislative support.

    I hope they find some Fokkers or some A320s for their jets.

  • Matty

    says:

    If they run flights between Sydney and Melbourne via Albury and flights between Brisbane and Sydney via Port Macquarie or Coffs they might have a chance, and only if they operate aircraft similar to F100 or EMB 170 much the same as East West did in the 1980’s.

    • shsfgh

      says:

      Why would people going for Syd to Melb or Bris want to stop in one of those country towns?

    • Plane

      says:

      And how well did East West go at that again?

    • James

      says:

      Matty. The airlines are no longer deregulated. Why would doing that give them an advantage?

  • Clive

    says:

    What country in the world with a population of 25 million has more than one domestic full service airline? I cannot think of any. Australia with a population of 25 million does not have the critical mass to support more than one domestic full service carrier. 100 years of Australian aviation history has proven that. With the exception of QANTAS and TAA which was absorbed into QANTAS, all have failed.

    • Plane

      says:

      Rex competes with Qantas on a number of it’s routes already. And sometimes Virgin as well. It survives on these routes by filling gaps in larger competitors’ schedules with smaller planes.

      Think of what they could do if they took Tiger terminal space and airspace slots, using small jets.

  • Paul

    says:

    Erm… what slots will they be using at SYD during peak? No slots at SYD in peak means no business travellers. No business travellers means essentially a pure leisure airline – right in the market sector where QF can use Jetstar to compete (so they won’t be losing any sleep over this idea) and who the hell knows what VA might think up next? Being in the middle space as they suggest they will target (“… somewhere between a full service and discount airline…”) simply means you are vulnerable to attack from above and below and QF/Jetstar have the arsenal to deal with this one in short order. AgentGerko summarised perfectly.

  • Ten Tribes of Texas

    says:

    The saabs must be able to do some routes. Example , Canberra to Melb and Canberra to Syd. They already fly Albury to Syd and that’s longer than Canberra to Syd.

  • Jake

    says:

    Rex, you need to go Airbus’s, and get the guys from TT Sydney to crew them!
    They know how to operate in a low cost environment already, they also have Check A and LTP’s there.
    Its a no brainer to get cheap MODERN, efficient aircraft to run the triangle with little training costs.
    Then, the ground services can be temporarily conducted by Swissport while you cherry pick your own ground staff for that too.
    You already have your own catering company, so you can ramp up some sophistication in that and your good to go 🙂
    Then, after the first 5 or so are set up, then you start increasing the fleet size slowly with your Rex pilots and then recruit to the SAAB to fill the gaps. Simple win win for all!

  • john

    says:

    Nope, nope and nope. Australia cannot and will not have 2 domestic full service airlines, history tells you that. QF has a line in the sand of 65% with a competitor 35%. Don’t shake the bear!! The only time 2 FSA”s survived was with the trashed 2 airline policy. It was trashed because “we” screamed competition, etc etc, and now that we have a dominant airline, we now scream “unfair” because of competition. I fear we really don’t know what we want (unless we are a unionist!!). I don’t think I will go down that track, because look at the “cosy” situation they had at Ansett. Please read the book “The Rise and Fall of Ansett” to learn about union practices, and actions by Owners and Management. VA OR Rex will survive if they understand “Do not shake the Bear” but only one of them, not both. A320 or 737 fleet for jets, nothing else. cheers
    .

  • Paul

    says:

    Rex have grossly underestimated the work required to amend their AOC, the experience required of the post holders in high capacity jet operations, the complexities of the check and training system, the requirements to actually properly calculate performance data, the engineering requirements and associated system of maintenance, the FRMS, crew management, safety management aspects and a myriad of other things.

    If they think they are going to be up and running by early next year using their current management team they are in for one massive surprise! And not a good one

  • Mark White

    says:

    Another opportunity for Rex would be to fly from larger regional cities eg Albury, Wagga Wagga, Dubbo, Orange, Tamworth, Armidale, Bendigo,Port Macquarie, Coffs Harbour to offer services to Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra, Gold Coast and Brisbane using jet services.

  • Doug

    says:

    Their current aircraft operate from Moorabbin?? Good move if possible

  • Pablo

    says:

    I hope they take over the former TigerAir Jet Routes, Coffs Harbour to BNE & MEL would be a good start, however I think Embraer Aircraft (2 & 2 seating) would be better suited to there proposed Capital -> Capital operations & I read elsewhere they were looking at the possibility of moving away from The SAAB340 Aircraft more to ward the ATR Turbo Props which VA Regional (Former SkyWest) presently operate, this would put REX on a equal footing with QFLink Dash 8 Operations for speed & comfort, being similar size aircraft

  • Christine Robinson

    says:

    After reading these comments having cheap flights are a good thing but once again reginal nsw will miss out again we fly rex albury to sydney as pricing can be cheaper than the others catch a qantas flight once in the air plane vibration frightens the S–T out of you please think of us in the bush as we always miss out

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