Rex, Australia’s largest independent regional airline, has been given the green light to start jet operations in March initially on the Sydney to Melbourne route ahead of expansion to other capital cities.
Australia’s aviation watchdog the Civil Aviation Safety Authority has granted the regional airline a High Capacity Air Operator’s Certificate (HCAOC), which means Rex is now approved for Regular Public Transport (RPT) services using the Boeing 737-800NGs.
Rex will now commence domestic operations between Sydney and Melbourne from March 1, 2021, and thereafter to other major cities.
The airline is leasing six, ex Virgin Australia, 737-800s, with many tipping that is just the start with a fleet of 10 to 20 expected within 2 years.
According to Routes Online, all 737s are scheduled to arrive over the next four months.
Three aircraft will be used to launch Rex flights on the Sydney-Melbourne route, which was among the world’s busiest domestic markets before the COVID-19 crisis.
The other three would be used to connect Brisbane with Sydney and Melbourne.
After that, the carrier intends to continue to grow the domestic fleet in line with the return of passenger demand with 10 by the end of 2021 and add cities such as Adelaide and Perth.
Earlier this year Rex’s Deputy Chairman, John Sharp, said, “Rex has the biggest regional network in Australia and we are the only carrier in Australia that has been able to successfully navigate the turmoil and shocks over the last two decades with uninterrupted operational profits since 2003.”
“With Rex’s expansive regional network of 60 destinations, existing infrastructure in all these capital city airports, superior efficiencies and unbeatable reliability, it will simply be an incremental extension for Rex to embark on domestic operations especially since one out of every ten flights in Australia was already a Rex flight during the pre-COVID days.
At the launch of the airline’s sales early this month, Rex Deputy Chairman, the Hon. John Sharp AM said the airline’s move into jet operations is a historic new era for Australia’s domestic air travel.
“For the first time, they [passengers] don’t have to choose between low fares with minimal service and premium pricing for more reliable flights,” Mr. Sharp said.
The airline is offering two classes with all fares including checked baggage allowance, food, pre-assigned seating, and on-line check-in.
Lounge access and on-board Wi-Fi will be free for Business Class, whilst Economy passengers can access these options for a small fee.
Rex is Australia’s largest independent regional airline operating a fleet of 60 Saab 340 aircraft (pre-COVID) on some 1,500 weekly flights to 60 destinations throughout all states in Australia.