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Rex signs lease for new 737 to expand fleet

written by Adam Thorn | May 9, 2022

Rex 737-8FE, VH-RQP msn 7C585F (Victor Pody)

Rex has announced it’s set to acquire another 737-800, after slowing its delivery of narrowbody aircraft during the recent Delta and Omicron COVID waves.

The airline is planning to initially expand its domestic fleet from six to 14, but has said that could increase to up to 30 as the industry continues to recover from the pandemic.

On Monday, Rex said it had signed a letter of intent with a lessor for the aircraft that will be available after its major check.

Deputy chairman John Sharp said, “With the full reopening of borders, Rex will continue to expand its domestic fleet and will look at introducing new aircraft whenever these become available for lease at favourable terms.”

It significantly follows Virgin and Bonza announcing an expansion of their fleets, as domestic aviation marks a strong recovery in Australia.

Last month, Virgin said it would operate four additional 737 MAXs in addition to its previous order of 25.

The new aircraft, the smaller 8 variant, will arrive as soon as February and take the airline’s 737 fleet to 88 – significantly higher than its post-administration prediction of just 58.

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Virgin Australia CEO Jayne Hrdlicka said, “We are on track to return to 100 per cent of pre-COVID domestic capacity by June this year and expect to well exceed those levels by year’s end, and our resources sector and contract flying in WA is in high demand.

“This investment in our fleet reflects the increased demand we are experiencing in all parts of Virgin Australia.”

Meanwhile, in December 2021, new airline Bonza announced a major expansion of its 737 MAX 8 fleet that will see it increase its aircraft from just two to eight within the first year.

Bonza broke cover in October to reveal a plan to fly “point-to-point” leisure routes not serviced by Qantas, Jetstar, Virgin and Rex.

Despite international travel still being far behind pre-pandemic levels, domestic travel has bounced back quicker than expected.

Over Easter, for example, Gold Coast Airport became Australia’s first major airport to fully recover from COVID, with passenger and flight numbers beating pre-pandemic records.

The facility welcomed and bid farewell to almost 25,000 people on Easter Monday, a new monthly record, and close to the all-time high of 25,455 passengers on 4 January 2020.

Qantas also said its domestic capacity would reach 110 per cent of pre-pandemic levels at Easter.

Comments (5)

  • Craig

    says:

    ONE jet??? And leased…

    ZL’s SIN owners’ are certainly hanging onto the purse strings.

    Must stick in Sharp’s craw that his rival QANTAS CEO can order billions’ $ worth of brand new Airbus aircrafts.

  • Nobby

    says:

    There is no way REX is ready for this!! Lots of work needed.

    • Claude

      says:

      Yes they are, haven’t you seen everything they are planning, they are definitly maturing as an airline.
      Anyway, from your comment it looks like you dislike Rex, why would that be?

  • Vannus

    says:

    The leasing of ONE 2nd hand Boeing does not a ‘fleet expansion’ make.

    The order which QANTAS has put into Airbus certainly qualifies perfectly for that phrase.

  • Anonymous

    says:

    REX, Bonza and Virgin are making the right choice by sticking with the 737, should mean plenty more work for all associated crew that will be laid off by Qantas when they ditch Boeing

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