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In pictures: Rex’s 737 Sydney flyover on Australia Day

written by Adam Thorn | January 27, 2021

Rex has released photos showing its Australia Day flyover of Sydney Harbour using one of its new 737s.

The 737-8FE, VH-RQC msn 33797, took off from Sydney Airport at 9:59am as flight ZL1962 and flew around the capital city for 45 minutes.

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It flew at just 1,500 feet over the Harbour Bridge as well as taking in the Opera House, beaches and spots all over the city.

The aircraft is the same VH-RQC that was first delivered sporting its new branding on Christmas Eve.

Rex will start flying between Sydney and Melbourne on 1 March, with plans to expand flights to Brisbane by Easter.

It marks the first major new competitor for the so-called Golden Triangle in two decades.

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The move has been facilitated by a $150 million investment, which will allow the business to lease six Boeing 737s, including VH-RQC.

Rex will initially operate nine return services a day between Sydney and Melbourne, with sale prices starting at $79.

Economy tickets will include checked baggage, food and pre-assigned seating – indicating Rex will pursue a ‘mid-market’ hybrid strategy.

The news comes after Rex’s deputy chairman John Sharp said last week that Qantas is secretly “distressed” at his airline’s plans to fly capital city routes despite publically belittling its chances.

In a bullish newspaper column, Sharp appeared to compare the national carrier to the Titanic and said the real reason for chief executive Alan Joyce’s strong comments were to make customers think Rex and Virgin could collapse.

The tit-for-tat response comes after Joyce told Australian Aviation in December that the regional airline’s “limited network” and higher ticket prices would hold them back.

“His prediction of failure for either Rex or Virgin is designed to undermine them by casting doubt over their survivability, steering passengers into the arms of Qantas because, according to Joyce, it’s the only airline guaranteed of longevity and the only safe place to book a ticket,” wrote Sharp in The AFR.

He went on to accuse Qantas, which he called a “600-pound gorilla”, of repeatedly getting lucky in its history, with Ansett’s collapse and Virgin’s poor financial performance.

“Joyce was appointed CEO of Qantas in November 2008, at the same time the GFC struck,” wrote Sharp. “This could explain his nervousness today as he has presided over a 12-year period when Qantas lost cumulatively, arguably not entirely his fault, $300 million.

“It would have been a bigger bloodbath if Virgin Australia had not given Qantas a free kick by being the basket case it was during that period.”

Meanwhile, in November 2019, Australian Aviation photographer Lenn Bayliss photographed Rex’s first 737 shortly after it had its old Virgin livery removed at Wellcamp and before the regional airline took delivery of it in Sydney on 5 November.

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