Rex will begin flights to Brisbane for the first time from 17 December, after introducing two daily flights connecting Melbourne and the Queensland capital.
Brisbane will become the fifth capital city destination serviced by Rex and will see the airline finally begin to service the so-called “Golden Triangle” of Brisbane-Sydney-Melbourne.
The move is long-awaited after Rex first announced in May 2020 that it was gearing up to rival Qantas and Virgin to take on domestic routes between capital cities, with the airline initially eyeing off routes within the “golden triangle”.
However, the airline is yet to touch down in Brisbane, after launching its very first flights between major capital cities – Sydney and Melbourne – in March this year.
Since then, Rex has expanded its capital city network to include flights between the Gold Coast and Adelaide, and Sydney and Canberra.
The news comes as Queensland prepares to reopen its state borders to fully vaccinated travellers, who present a negative COVID-19 PCR test within 72 hours prior to travel, from 17 December.
Rex has announced that it will begin double daily flights on weekdays between Melbourne and Brisbane from this date, with a return service on both Saturday and Sunday.
To celebrate the announcement, Rex is offering fares on this new route from just $79 one way, with no sale fare blackout period over the holiday season.
“All of our launch flights to new destinations have proved to be enormously popular and I have no doubt Brisbane will be the same,” said Rex deputy chairman John Sharp.
Queensland Tourism Minister Stirling Hinchliffe welcomed the news, stating, “This is great news for Queensland tourism operators and family reunions.”
“We know there is pent-up demand among Victorians for a Queensland summer getaway and today’s announcement by Rex opens new options.”
“The Palaszczuk government continue to support Queensland airports to rebuild flight schedules because we understand the importance of aviation to the state’s tourism industry,” Hinchliffe added.
Meanwhile, Brisbane Airport’s CEO Gert-Jan de Graaff agreed, and said, “As we celebrate the upcoming reopening of the Victorian and Queensland borders, this announcement is wonderful news for travellers who will now have more options to travel between Brisbane and Melbourne.
“We expect these flights to be popular as travellers reconnect with family and friends or take a well-earned holiday and explore two of Australia’s best cities.”
Sharp added that Rex is also primed to advance its Boeing 737 operations into the Queensland intrastate market.
Sharp said that the airline has “no intention of stopping our growth” and is “determined to make up for time lost due to the pandemic”, particularly in Queensland.
“Every time we’ve entered a new market, airfares have fallen dramatically as Qantas and Virgin Australia scramble to match our prices, and I have no doubt this will be the case again,” Sharp said.
“Consumers are the big winners from competition and Rex will continue to champion the cause of safe, reliable and affordable air travel.”
It comes after Sharp last week criticised new budget entrant Bonza over its optimistic launch timeline, and questioned it the carrier will make it off the ground at all.
“I’ve been in this game a long time,” Sharp said.
“And during that time, every couple of years, somebody would come forward. Usually, they’re former employees of an airline or they’re a group of pilots who come together who reckon they can run an airline better than the management team.
“So they come together, they put a plan together. It sounds great, they are very confident. They make lots of publicity, and then the reality of the situation dawns on them and they just quietly disappear.”
Like many who hear Bonza’s ambitious intentions to tap into underserved regional markets with its fleet of Boeing 737 MAX jets, Sharp questioned what routes Bonza could possibly be considering that the incumbent airlines don’t yet focus on, that can handle a 737, and that have adequate demand to sustain a new market entrant.
“That’s a mystery to us … what are those markets? If they are worth servicing, Qantas, Virgin or Rex would be in there doing it,” he said.