Australian regional airline Rex announced a plan to launch domestic major city jet operations on March 1, 2021. This marks significant expansion into the realm previously dominated by Australia’s ailing major airlines, Qantas Airways and Virgin Australia.
The news came with Regional Express Holdings (REX) announcement of exclusive negotiations with investment company PAG Asia Capital that is set to provide AUD 150 million ($108.4 million).
Rex operates a fleet of 60 Saab 340 turboprops on domestic routes and, according to the company, is “partnering the bush” by providing connection to marginal destinations within the continent.
Both major Australian carriers were heavily struck by COVID-19 pandemic, with Virgin Australia announcing reorganization and ending their long-hauls flights, and Qantas Airways significantly shrinking their workforce.
Rex’ plan to take on both giants was announced in May 2020, prompting speculations as to the carrier’s ability to afford such a leap. Up to 10 Virgin Australia’s Boeing 737s were purchased by Rex in early August, intended to operate on the Sydney-Melbourne-Brisbane triangle.