Australian regional carrier Rex has taken delivery of the airline’s ninth Boeing 737-800NG. The aircraft arrived in Brisbane last Friday night after a ferry flight from Singapore’s Changi Airport where it underwent a scheduled heavy maintenance check and painting. The aircraft will bear the registration VH-8JS and will enter service next month enabling the airline to launch its new route between Adelaide and Brisbane on 30 October.
This latest addition to the fleet closely follows Rex’s eighth Boeing 737-800NG which entered into service on 15 August and will allow Rex to further increase its domestic footprint across all the capital cities in Australia. Rex now has ten domestic routes connecting capital cities and holiday destinations across five states. Rex intends to add another two Boeing 737-800NG aircraft to its domestic fleet before the end of the financial year based on aircraft availability.
“Australians are crying out for an airline like Rex that has over 20 years of safe, reliable service delivered with heartfelt country hospitality and integrity,” Rex Deputy Chairman John Sharp said. “Besides being consistently Australia’s most reliable airline, we are proud that during COVID, we refunded every passenger who requested a COVID-related refund. We even sent out six reminders to travel agents requesting they initiate refunds for passengers who booked directly through them. We did not sell tickets for phantom flights in a bid to enhance cash flow. We also did not retrench any staff during COVID. On the contrary, we were aggressively recruiting for our domestic operation. We do not ever gouge our passengers even on routes where we are the sole operator and we do not squat on valuable airport slots by gaming the system. We are confident that with the continued growth of our network, more and more Australians will experience and switch to the only true Australian carrier they can trust and rely on.”
Rex announces reductions in flights
Rex earlier announced it is being “forced” to make further reductions to its regional network as the major carriers, particularly the Qantas Group, continued their relentless pillaging of Rex’s pilot group. The reductions, effective from 30 October, all involve the regional routes serviced by Rex’s fleet of Saab 340 turboprop aircraft. The routes affected are:
- Sydney-Coffs Harbour
- Sydney-Port Macquarie
Rex will also temporarily suspend services between Sydney and Armidale until at least 30 March 2024 and withdraw from the Cairns-Bamaga route in Far North Queensland. Service reductions on seven other regional routes announced on 21 April, 2023 will continue for at least another five months as will the suspension of flights between Adelaide and Mildura.
Rex says it’s most on-time airline in Australia
Rex has again been officially recognised as Australia’s most punctual and reliable airline for the month of August, according to Federal Government data. Figures from the Bureau of Infrastructure and Transport Research Economics (BITRE) show Rex had the best On Time Performance (OTP) and the lowest flight cancellation rate of any airline last month. In August, 80% of Rex flights departed on time, more than 10% better than both Virgin (68.4%) and Jetstar (69.8%) with Qantas a distant second at 73.9%.
The gap was even more stark for cancellation rates. Qantas and Jetstar’s cancellation rates were almost twice as much as Rex’s while the Virgin Group’s was almost three times as high.
“Besides being consistently Australia’s most reliable airline, we are proud that during COVID we did not de-staff the call centre in a disingenuous attempt to discourage requests for refund,” said Sharp. “In fact, we did the opposite and created a special App so that passengers could be automatically refunded without having to contact the call centre. We even sent out 6 reminders to travel agents to ask them to initiate the refund process for passengers who booked directly through them. The end result is that we refunded every passenger who requested a COVID-related refund. We are also proud of the fact that we did not sell tickets for phantom flights in a bid to enhance cash flow. We did not retrench a single staff member and every cent of JobKeeper subsidy has been distributed back to staff. We do not ever gouge our passengers even on routes where we are the sole operator and we do not squat on valuable airport slots by gaming the system.”