Rex to bring back Boeing 737s from November 15

A Rex 737-800. Photo: Supplied.

Regional Express (Rex) plans to resume domestic Boeing 737-800 flights between Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra from November 15.

The airline said domestic services to South Australia and Queensland would follow once vaccination rates in those states hit 80%.

It also operates a fleet of Saab 340B turboprop aircraft and said regional intra-state services in New South Wales and Victoria will also be gradually strengthened from November 15.

READ: Qantas Launches Biggest Frequent Flyer Seating Release Ever.

Rex grounded his 737s after Australia’s internal borders were closed due to rising COVID cases, but said rising vaccination rates and easing restrictions prompted his decision to hand over the jets in service.

Prior to the surge in COVID cases, Rex operated 737 services from Melbourne to Sydney, Gold Coast, Adelaide and Canberra and from Sydney to Gold Coast. He had six B737s when he grounded the plane in July, but expected two more in August.

The carrier said the additional planes would give it the ability to launch new routes to other capitals, major regional centers and popular leisure destinations.

It competes with the Qantas Group and Virgin Australia, but is expected to face a new entrant in the market when the super-low-cost carrier Bonza launches next year.

Bonza has yet to reveal route details or fares, but said he plans to avoid the highly competitive Brisbane-Melbourne-Sydney triangle. Instead, it will focus on regional and leisure destinations with an emphasis on underserved destinations or those previously overlooked by historic airlines.

The airline is led by former Cebu Pacific chief commercial officer and FlyArystan managing director Tim Jordan, and is backed by a US-based private investment firm, 777 Partners.

It will use a fuel-efficient 737 MAX 8 aircraft and says it will offer consistent ultra-low fares and new travel options.

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