Rex has apologised for a delay that left Hobart-bound passengers stranded at Melbourne Airport for eight hours earlier this week.
Flight ZL961 was scheduled to depart Melbourne at 12pm on Tuesday, but did not take off until 8:15pm, arriving in Hobart at 9:09pm. The return flight, ZL962, also suffered an eight-hour delay, taking off at 10:12pm instead of 2:10pm for an 11:18pm landing.
In a statement, Rex said it sincerely apologised for the delays, which were due to a “combination of factors beyond the airline’s control”.
“These included an engineering issue which took longer than expected to rectify and weather conditions earlier in the day at Adelaide which had an impact on our ability to utilise an alternate aircraft,” a spokesperson said.
“Passengers were updated as soon as information became available and were provided with meal vouchers during the rolling delay.”
Rex has flown daily between Melbourne and Hobart using its 737-800 fleet since August, complementing its Saab 340 regional services to Burnie, Devonport, and King Island, and adding an extra 128,000 seats per year between Tasmania and the mainland.
Deputy chairman John Sharp at the time took a swipe at the carrier’s rivals as he pointed to the strong forward bookings on the new route, which was announced in June.
“With economy fares from Hobart starting at $79 and business class seats from $349, it’s understandable they are being snapped up by those looking for an alternative to the sky-high prices and unreliable services being offered by other airlines,” he said.
The airline is also planning extra Hobart flights over the holiday period between 18 December and 21 January, catering for what it said is a “surge in demand”.