Rex’s executive chairman has said he’s “mildly pleased” at the business’ full-year performance, despite recording a loss before tax of $68 million.
Lim Kim Hai said the lingering impact of COVID-19 meant the airline’s recovery didn’t begin until February 2020.
“Prior to that, both the domestic jet operations and regional Saab operations were either suspended or greatly reduced,” he said.
The business’ results for FY22 saw revenue hit $319 million, including COVID-19 grants of $32 million. This was, however, significantly lower than the $87 million in help it received in FY21.
“Considering that COVID-19 devastated practically three quarters of the FY and the war in Ukraine starting in February causing crude oil prices to skyrocket by over 70 per cent during the financial year peaking at a near record high of A$174 per barrel in June 2022 … I am mildly pleased that our performance is not much worse than it is.”
“The operational statistics for the new financial year have been very encouraging and indicate that we have turned the corner.
”In July, the domestic jet operations load factor was at an all-time high of 86 per cent whilst the regional Saab operations saw higher passenger numbers, revenue and load factors compared to pre-COVID-19 figures despite 5 per cent less flying.”
“These pleasing outcomes are the result of partnerships with corporates and travel agencies that were entered into at the end of the prior FY.
“We have already seen 35 per cent of the committed monthly amounts for the partnerships in the first two months, and we have every reason to believe that the performance will get stronger in the coming months.
“I note also that fuel prices have retreated to A$130 per barrel in the most recent week.
“We are continuing to see very strong bookings in August, with the past week showing a 50 per cent increase over the same period in July last month.
“Barring further external shocks, I am confident that the group will return to good profitability in FY23.”
Rex launched its first 737 flights between major cities in March 2021 and has since expanded its network to include flights between Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, the Gold Coast and Canberra.
Earlier this month, Australian Aviation reported that Rex intends to take delivery of its seventh leased 737-800NG by the end of this month, with possibly another two jets to be delivered by the end of this year.
Together with its regional operations, Rex saw a total of $31.5 million in revenue in July 2022, and has predicted that both its regional and domestic networks will be profitable by mid-2023.
The news comes as Rex celebrates its 20th anniversary, marking two decades since regional carriers Hazelton Airlines and Kendall Airlines merged to form Regional Express.