Regional Express (Rex) will start flying the final missing link on Australia’s golden triangle, launching flights on the Brisbane – Sydney sector on December 20. The news follows the announcement earlier this week the airline would start flying between Melbourne and Brisbane.
The missing link in Rex’s golden triangle ambitions
Rex’s entry onto the Brisbane – Sydney route gives it a presence on Australia’s top five domestic routes. The Brisbane – Sydney city pair is usually Australia’s second busiest. In 2019, more than 4.8 million passengers flew in either direction. Rex will duke it out with Qantas, Jetstar, and Virgin Australia on the sector.
“Today’s announcement yet again demonstrates our determination to grow our domestic network and provide consumers with safe, reliable and affordable air travel,” says Rex’s Deputy Chairman, John Sharp.
Brisbane was the missing link in Rex’s Boeing 737 capital city destinations in Australia’s southeast corner. Previously the airline had been unable to come to mutually agreeable terms with Brisbane Airport. But that’s water under the bridge now.
“Today’s announcement from Rex, in addition to the new Melbourne services, bolsters the recovery for Brisbane’s two busiest domestic routes,” said Brisbane Airport’s CEO, Gert-Jan de Graaff.
“We applaud Rex for their decision to invest in Brisbane and look forward to working with them as they continue their growth.”
Rex has big plans for Queensland
From December 20, Rex will fly three daily return services between Brisbane and Sydney, dropping down to twice daily on the weekends. Introductory main cabin fares start at AU$69, while business class fares start at AU$299.
“Brisbane is a key gateway for Rex and will very quickly become the launchpad for further forays into the Queensland market in the months and years ahead,” adds Mr Sharp.
Rex is also flagging further announcements regarding new Boeing 737 routes in Queensland, with considerable speculation surrounding services to Cairns. Simple Flying understands those first “further forays” will be announced shortly.
It’s still early days, but so far, it’s light fares and light loads
After a four-month-long grounding, Rex resumed operating Boeing 737s on Monday. They are not yet flying into Queensland, instead waiting until that State lifts inbound travel restrictions in December.
In the interim, Rex is flying their jets between Melbourne and Sydney and Melbourne and Canberra. The airline will soon resume flying between Melbourne and Adelaide.
Meanwhile, Rex’s sharp pricing is having an interesting impact on airfares on the Boeing 737 routes it shares with its bigger rivals, particularly at Virgin Australia. That airline has a slightly different business class product than Rex (including a good lounge in Brisbane where Rex has none). However, Virgin Australia is generally price matching Rex.
Both Rex and Virgin Australia are now offering AU$299 business class fares on all three triangle routes; Sydney – Melbourne, Melbourne – Brisbane, and Brisbane – Sydney. In contrast, Qantas sticks with its traditional business class pricing, which can regularly exceed AU$1000 for a one-way flight between Brisbane and Sydney.
Rex’s pricing is a win for passengers who are enjoying highly competitive business class fares on these sectors but is lousy for Virgin Australia’s bottom line.