This article should take 2 minutes to read.
You may have heard the name Regional Express before it probably had to do with safety concerns and an engine prop falling off mid-flight. They’re a regional airline in Australia which operates the largest fleet of Saab 340s. Much like in the US this airline is usually struggling to find pilots as larger airlines like to poach their pilots since they rack up the hours the quickest due to their schedules and where they fly to as well. They did their business by transporting passengers from regional cities to the larger cities like Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, Darwin and Adelaide. But now they want to tackle the big airlines head-on and hope to put jets on some busier domestic routes.
“It will simply be an incremental extension for REX to embark on domestic operations,” Rex’s Deputy Chairman, John Sharp said. REX hopes to raise $20 million in funding which they can use to help launch their limited domestic operations. But at this stage funding is not approved by their shareholders because they hope to get the loans against 15 of their Saabs. They plan to have a fleet of 5 - 10 narrowbody jets based in Sydney and fly the highly congested Sydney to Brisbane and Sydney to Melbourne with maybe a flight between Brisbane and Melbourne. Other airlines have tried to crack into this market but have since failed, but REX hopes that their experience will help them launch a successful operation. John Sharp said, “Leveraging on Rex’s existing infrastructure and overheads, our cost base for the domestic operation is estimated to be at least 35% below Virgin’s Australia’s (pre-COVID) with 50% lower additional headcount needed proportionately.” Initially, they had a partnership with Virgin Australia to fly passengers from a regional city such as Dubbo or Broken Hill and then transfer them onto a VOZ jet.
They hope to take advantage of Qantas and Virgin becoming a smaller airline after 2020. When demand picks back up, they want to ride that wave since they have survived comfortably many different problems over the years much like what John Sharp “We are the only carrier in Australia that has been able to navigate successfully the turmoil and shocks over the last two decades with uninterrupted operational profits since 2003.”. They hope to start their flight in March 2021.