Rex has announced a new upcoming partnership with US-based carrier Delta Air Lines, allowing easier international transfers direct from regional Australia.
The two airlines have signed a letter of intent to enter a ‘definitive commercial agreement’, which will see reciprocal interline ticketing and baggage across both airlines from the third quarter of 2022.
It will mean passengers on both sides of the Pacific will be able to book flights from anywhere in Rex’s Australian network to America, via Sydney and LA with Delta, with one itinerary so a second check-in won’t be required upon arrival in Sydney.
It marks a major step for Rex, which last year scaled up its operations from regional to capital city domestic flights, and also comes as domestic rival Virgin Australia dissolved its codeshare partnership with Delta.
“Delta will not only connect international travellers on Rex’s trunk domestic routes, but could also allow them easy access to Rex’s expansive network of over 60 routes throughout regional Australia,” said Rex deputy chairman John Sharp.
“This is a milestone moment for Rex and our passengers,” he added.
“Rex is delighted to forge a partnership with America’s most awarded airline.”
At present, Delta operates over 4,000 flights per day to more than 275 destinations, including daily flights between LA and Sydney on its flagship Airbus A350-900 aircraft.
Delta has announced it would increase this number from seven to 10 flights per week from mid-December.
“Rex will be a valued partner that will bring additional connectivity and geographic reach to both airlines,” said Delta VP of alliance partner development Jeff Arinder.
“We look forward to welcoming more customers on our flights from Sydney to the US and providing a world-class experience in the air and on the ground.”
Delta previously held a similar agreement with Virgin, which was severed in December after more than a decade of partnership.
Virgin has instead opted to partner up with Chicago-based United Airlines, however this new codeshare agreement is yet to come into effect.
Meanwhile, Rex first announced in May 2020 that it was gearing up to rival Qantas and Virgin to take on domestic routes between capital cities, on a fleet of secondhand Boeing 737s.
The first flights between major capital cities – Sydney and Melbourne – launched in March 2021, and the airline has since expanded its domestic network to include flights to Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Adelaide, and Canberra.
In February, Rex set its eyes on massively expanding its fleet of Boeing 737s from six to 30 aircraft over the coming five to seven years, with an aim to enter one new plane into service every two to three months.
The news was revealed by Rex chairman Lim Kim Hai at the iconic Singapore Airshow, and nearly doubles Rex’s previous public fleet expansion goals.
“That’s a very good medium-term objective,” Lim said. “There’s a lot to be said for economies of scale.”