Rex’s John Sharp on Surviving the Omicron Shutdown

COVID, lockdowns, stand-downs, slots, spats, expansions, jabs, cancellations, big ol’ 737s and more slots. Rex’s chief in Australia, John Sharp, might be an old hand, but he’s still very much in the game.

 

Here he comes. John Sharp, the deputy chairman of Rex, scampers to the front of the stage at Royal Randwick’s conference hall in Sydney. It’s mid-December 2021, and the 67-year-old is about to address the industry at CAPA’s latest aviation conference. He’s a seasoned pro at all this, having led the airline for a decade and a half in Australia. Still, today will be a tough gig, as he’ll make an introductory speech before being interrogated by CAPA’s chairman emeritus, Peter Harbison, a man known for skills at admirably skewering his guests. Sharp doesn’t seem phased, mind, and, fresh out of lockdown, his smile has an extra glow of mischief; the showman, happy to be reunited with his audience. The two young women sat in front of me, gossiping and whispering through the Virgin CEO’s speech minutes beforehand, stuff their iPhones in their pockets and lean forward. 

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