Rex Airlines has swooped in to fill the impending void left by Virgin Australia, signing a Letter of Intent to begin a commercial partnership with Delta Air Lines in the third quarter of this year.
The final agreement will see Rex and Delta – America’s second largest airline – link up to offer reciprocal interline ticketing and baggage services, giving passengers access to over 60 Australian routes and more than 275 international destinations on six continents.
It’s a big win for the Australian airline, as it continues its transformation from regional carrier into a middle-market challenger to the likes of Virgin Australia and Jetstar on key domestic routes. It could potentially unlock a path to joining an international alliance as well.
With Delta’s 11 year Virgin Australia partnership set to end on June 12, the SkyTeam member was in need of a local partner, with Rex a surprising, yet perfectly fitting choice.
When complete, Rex’s passengers will be able to connect seamlessly on Delta’s daily, non-stop flights between Sydney and Los Angeles, a frequency which is set to increase to 10 flights a week beginning December 18, and from there to nearly 50 cities in the U.S.
Rex Deputy Chairman John Sharp calls the agreement a milestone moment for Rex and its passengers, one sure to “help boost the post-COVID return of long-haul international travel”.
“Delta will not only connect international travellers on Rex’s trunk domestic routes, but could also allow them easy access to Rex’s expansive network of over 60 routes throughout regional Australia,” Sharp elaborates.
It’s a sentiment echoed by Delta’s Vice-President – Alliance Partner Development, Jeff Arinder, who says “Rex will be a valued partner that will bring additional connectivity and geographic reach to both airlines.”
Rex is Australia’s largest independent airline, with a fleet of 60 Saab 340 and six Boeing 737-800 NG aircraft, covering key destinations including Sydney, Melbourne and the Gold Coast.