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Rex to expand 737 fleet from 7 to 9

written by Adam Thorn | February 14, 2023

Victor Pody shot this Rex 737, VH-MFM

Rex is set to expand its 737 fleet from seven to nine after signing a letter of intent to lease two more.

The airline said the new aircraft would arrive in June and July but was “still deciding” which route they would service.

Rex first launched capital city flights in March 2021 after securing $150 million in investment.

However, the move triggered a furious row with Qantas, with the smaller airline accusing its bigger rival of “predatory” behaviour for apparently responding by launching services on previously Rex-exclusive routes.

The fiery war-of-words saw Qantas CEO Alan Joyce mock Rex’s “empty aircraft” while Rex deputy chairman John Sharp questioned how Joyce could “look at himself in the mirror some mornings”. Qantas has consistently denied any wrongdoing.


“Rex’s domestic jet services have been performing very strongly and have been profitable in the past four months,” said Sharp on Tuesday.

“The travelling public has been crying out for our reliable and affordable services in the light of the shameless price gouging by Qantas, and these new additions will help to alleviate the situation.

“We are still deciding where to deploy these additional aircraft and will explore all options.”

Australian Aviation reported last month how Rex’s capital city 737 flights generated a profit before tax of $2.8 million in November, up $800,000 from the month prior.

It came after Virgin claimed to have hit real profitability for the first time since its damaging ‘capacity wars’ battle with Qantas and weeks after the national carrier itself said it was targeting an underlying profit before tax of up to $1.45 billion for the first half of the current financial year.

Rex has long spoken of its ambitions to continue to expand its 737 operations.

Last year, chairman Lim Kim Hai even suggested its fleet could grow to up to 30 aircraft over the coming five to seven years.

Sharp revealed the expansion was made possible because COVID caused “thousands” of aircraft to hit the market at low prices, with lessors “happy to accept any price”.

The pandemic also led to Rex being able to hire staff recently made redundant from larger rivals Qantas and Virgin.

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