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Sharp Airlines to report Rex for ‘uncompetitive’ new route

written by Adam Thorn | July 21, 2020

A file image of a Regional Express Saab 340B. (Dave Parer)
A file image of a Regional Express Saab 340B. (Dave Parer)

Regional carrier Sharp Airlines is to report Rex to the competition commission after it launched a rival service between Wynyard and King Island in Tasmania.

The Mercury newspaper has reported that Rex denied any wrongdoing, “welcomed scrutiny” and “encouraged Sharp Airlines to lodge a formal complaint”.

Sharp’s chief executive, Dallas Hay, told the newspaper, “While all airlines globally are suffering due to COVID-19 it appears Rex has the capability of expanding their network and with the view of weakening an existing operator.

“Even if the passenger numbers return to pre-COVID-19 levels in the next 12-18 months, Rex’s entry on this route with increased capacity will diminish load factors to a clearly unsustainable level for two operators to be commercially viable.”

Rex explained that it introduced the new service as a result of operating a combined Melbourne-Wynyard-King Island-Melbourne service.


“This was implemented as an efficiency measure in the same way that Rex introduced a new sector for Wagga Wagga-Albury as a result of operating a combined Melbourne-Albury-Wagga service.

“Under the Commonwealth government’s Regional Airline Network Support (RANS) program, these combined routes are funded for up to three return services a week, which is what Rex is offering to both of these combined routes.”

The war of words comes weeks after Rex itself accused Qantas of launching a “commercially unsustainable” Sydney-Orange route.

Rex then called on the federal government to “review” any financial assistance provided to Qantas from the Australian Airline Financial Relief Package, the Domestic Aviation Network Support package and the COVID-19 Regional Airline Network Support program.

Qantas responded by accusing Rex of double standards. “Rex is clearly uncomfortable about facing competition and seeing their monopoly on flights to Orange coming to end,” a Qantas spokesperson told Australian Aviation.

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Comments (5)

  • Craigy


    More hypocrisy from REX. Sharp and his colleagues have no shame.

  • jay


    Sharp, you might have a claim there or not. But do you not agree that it is time to upgrade the fleet to a somewhat modern fleet? Once that has been done you can complain about the competition. The same counts for REX. It is the year 2020, carbon fibre planes are common these days. At least get a Q400 or ATR42. Charging premium dollars with that equipment..?? Grow up!

  • Chris


    Seems that Rex operates in the same manner they accuse others such as QF of operating in.

  • AlanH


    REX must get its “war of words” written by a friendly politician. Oh, hang on, John Sharp was a politician who came under a cloud over the MP travel rorts saga! And he is still an active member of the Nationals. No wonder REX can always “explain” their actions as being credulous. After their dummy spit over the Qantas announcement of a Sydney-Orange service I no longer believe anything they say … not that I did before with the fiasco of them announcing that they want to introduce jet flights on the eastern seaboard trunk routes on the heels of their “crocodile tears” of needing immediate Gov’t financial support or else they would go under and COVID-19 test results would be severely compromised! Really Mr Sharp? Despite his many altruistic contributions to the wider community (which I readily acknowledge) that man has very little credibility as far as REX goes.

  • Jack Smith


    Rex, look at the equipment you operate, premium dollars for a sub-standard aircraft which is noisy, shabby and cramp. They were second hand two decades ago.

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