Rex takes delivery of sixth 737 to continue expansion

written by Adam Thorn | April 22, 2021
Rex's latest 737 is a 17-year-old 737-8FE, VH-RYU msn 33794, which arrived in April 2021
Rex’s latest 737 is a 17-year-old 737-8FE, VH-RYU msn 33794, which arrived in Sydney via Brisbane (Rex)

Rex has taken delivery of a sixth 737 as it continues to rapidly expand its capital city network.

The 17-year-old 737-8FE, VH-RYU msn 33794, left Jakarta on 20 April at 10:12am and landed in Brisbane at 8:30pm. The next day it flew onwards to Rex’s base at Sydney, as flight ZL9915.

The news comes days after the airline launched flights between Canberra and Sydney, adding to its recent expansion into the Gold Coast and Adelaide as well as Sydney and Melbourne.

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Rex also confirmed it was still planning to take delivery of two more aircraft in July and could grow its fleet beyond eight by the end of 2021.

“We have almost daily requests from major cities all over Australia for Rex’s services and we will work with all airports that are prepared to establish a good partnership with us,” Rex deputy chairman John Sharp said.

“We welcome expression of interests from all major cities as we are determined to bring our unique premium reliable services at affordable fares to the four corners of Australia delivered with our trademark country hospitality.”

Rex’s fleet of 737s now includes VH-REX, VH-PAG, VH-RQC, VH-RQG, VH-RQP and VH-RYU.

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The business signed off on a $150 million investment in November last year to allow it to expand its operations to fly major domestic routes.

It also acquired a “High Capacity Air Operator’s Certificate” from CASA, which allows it to fly 737s and any aircraft with more than 38 seats or weighing more than 4,200 kilograms. Its fleet of 60 Saab 340s carry slightly fewer passengers.

In November, 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.

Earlier this week, Australian Aviation reported how Rex’s Sharp launched a withering attack on Qantas’ finances, branding the airline “technically insolvent”.

Sharp also suggested in the newspaper column that chief executive Alan Joyce was a hypocrite for going “cap in hand” to the federal government for help.

“Qantas is now so desperate that it is willing to risk universal ridicule just to get its hands on more cash at any cost,” he wrote.

The two businesses have for months been involved in a tit-for-tat argument over launching new services, which started with Rex accusing the flag carrier of using “predatory” tactics to compete with it on previously exclusive routes. Qantas responded by arguing that its smaller rival was throwing a “tantrum”.

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8 Comments

  • AgentGerko

    says:

    Don’t care how many airports contact Rex. The questions is simply whether they can get the passengers.

    • IAN

      says:

      Rex is apparently doing very well in & out of Gold Coast. Not so well on SYD/MEL but don’t think anyone is, looking at last minute fares which were often close to $1000 same day return, peak hour both ways, in economy, before Covid 19, now much less. Maybe Rex should be handing out free tickets to business people at airport, on condition that hand over contact details, email/mobile phone etc. & accept Rex’s emails/texts. Once people try Rex, they’ll realise there’s stuff all difference between high priced qantas & lower priced Rex.

      & as far as shortage of aircraft go, there are 1000s of B738 parked around the world, some configured same or very similar to old Virgins B738s

  • Pete

    says:

    Love the Rex expansion!

    Now do Melbourne/Canberra, please.

  • John Phillips

    says:

    Rex seems bound on a suicide mission here – reported flights SYD_MEL_SYD only 20% full, sometimes even less.

    Joyce cleverly describes the passengers on these flights as “lonely”. (Fin Review 23/04/2021)

    Looks like QF will be left to fill the void on the regional services, when and if Rex go belly up.

  • Julius Grafton

    says:

    Virgin retired 18 leased 737’s and say they’ll take 10 back. With Rex grabbing 8, that exhausts the common fittout 737’s so Rex will need to look further afield beyond 8……

    • TailEndCharlie

      says:

      Virgin’s taking 12 back, which leaves Rex floundering to find other B738’s, beyond the 6 they’ve got now, supposedly being added in July, & December this year.
      It’s now going to get more expensive for Sharp/Rex to expand.

  • Jon

    says:

    Wondering from where Sharp will get two more jets in July, & more in December 2021?
    Those locally he thought he’d probably get, have been leased by another carrier.
    Going to be expensive to ‘ferry’ some from the US. Rex fares’ maybe increased to pay for those!
    If he’s only got load factors’ of 20% on his SYDMELSYD flights, that’s not even paying their own way.
    His company’s financial situation is probably getting desperate, & it’ll be interesting to see the outcome, especially when Fed funds stop.

  • The reference to 4200 kgs is in terms of a payload capacity being greater than 4200 kgs.

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