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Rex’s first Boeing 737-800 passenger flight, between Melbourne and Sydney, on 1 March 2021. Photo: Regional Express

Regional Express To Grow With New Travel Agent Deals

SYDNEY, Australia – Australian regional airline Regional Express announced on Friday, June 24, that it has signed new agreements with major travel agency groups, with the agreements to commence on July 1, 2022. The arrangement, which coincides with its competitor Qantas’ regional expansion, will see expected revenues double in the next financial year.

Rex, as the airline is better known, has ensured it remains a popular choice for domestic travel by signing deals with Flight Centre, Helloworld, Webjet, Consolidated Travel, and Corporate Travel Management. The agreement with Flight Centre, one of Australia’s largest travel agencies, will ensure Rex remains its airline of choice for 10 years – the deal labeled “landmark” by Rex.

The airline, with its fleet of 60 Saab 340 and six Boeing 737-800NG aircraft, aims to double its domestic jet revenue without any increase in fleet size. The reasons can be attributed in part to the expansion of its more popular services due to freed up resources from its recent service closures. Rex, increasing these services, will see up to 67% increases in weekly return flights to major regional centers.

Rex Rated Australia’s Most Reliable Airline

According to the Australian Government’s official data, May 2022 saw Rex as the most reliable airline with the fewest cancellations. The Bureau of Infrastructure and Transport Research Economics monthly report took note of on-time departure and arrival performance, as well as flight cancellations of all major Australian airlines.

As the only airline to perform above the 70% mark in reliability, Rex scored 78.5% for on-time departures and 75.5% for arrivals, with a cancellation rate of 1.4%. Virgin Australia rated second, with its reliability scoring 64.4% departures, 65.7% arrivals, and a cancellation rate of 5.0%. As for Qantas, its reliability rate for on-time departures and arrivals scored 61.5% and 60.7% respectively, with the highest cancellation of any Australian airline at 7.1%.

With tongue in cheek, Rex Deputy Chairman, the Hon John Sharp AM, said: “Rex treats its customers with respect and decency; we don’t cancel flights en mass and we don’t lose truckloads of our passengers’ luggage… nor do we leave our customers on the phone for days at a time waiting to get through.” Sharp’s comments, referencing some of the more negative Qantas experiences of late, highlight the growing competition – and resentment – between the two airlines.

‘Hypocrisy’ In Australia’s Airline Industry

In step with other industry pay rises, Rex has faced what it calls “a double standard” from the pilots’ union, with the airline’s latest pay rise offer being rejected. The offer, a 5.1% increase compared to QantasLink’s 2% pay rise last year, was received negatively by the Australian Federation of Air Pilots (AFAP) despite praising the QantasLink deal as ‘pragmatic’, according to a media statement.

In a recent statement, Sharp commented: “Just last September, the AFAP agreed to a 2% pay rise in 2021 and 2022 for QantasLink pilots saying, ‘we are pleased to have arrived at a pragmatic outcome for the QantasLink pilot group’. Rex on the other hand has offered its SAAB pilots a 5.1% pay rise from 1 July 2022, plus significant catch-up payments worth another 8% once the business is profitable again.”

He further added: “The AFAP’s double standard clearly demonstrates that it is not really interested in protecting its members’ interest but rather in pursuing its own agenda.” The airline noted that during the COVID pandemic, which resulted in a mass exodus of airline pilots due to nationwide lockdowns, it was the only airline to support its crews and not retrench any of its pilots.

Author

  • Mike’s love affair with flight and mechanical objects in the sky began at an early age, fascinated by space documentaries and forever inspired by his first experiences with Flight Simulator ’95. He currently works as a UAV flight instructor and is training to receive his Private Pilot Licence with the goal of working in manned flight instruction. An avid reader of all things aviation and manned space flight, Mike stays close to developments in aerospace while reminiscing and sharing the rich history of flight with others. He loves writing, engineering and science. https://twitter.com/MikeMangano9

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