Regional Express will open a Rex Lounge at Brisbane Airport next year as it gears up for the launch of Brisbane-Sydney flights in April, with Brisbane-Melbourne to follow.
“We plan to build a new lounge at Brisbane Airport to accommodate our flights between Sydney and Brisbane, and ultimately between Brisbane and Melbourne – and then obviously to other parts of Australia in time,” Rex Deputy Chairman John Sharp confirms to Executive Traveller.
However, the lounge may not touch down until after Rex’s first Brisbane-Sydney flight takes off.
“We haven’t put a specific date on Brisbane yet, but the beauty of what we’re doing is that our model is to scale up as the market scales up, so as we believe the demand exists, we’ll increase the number of flights, and we’ll increase the number of cities that we fly to.”
Rex has confirmed, however, that Brisbane’s lounge will open sometime in 2021, and that its agreements with Priority Pass and similar lounge providers are expected to continue.
Brisbane-Sydney flights first
Regional Express’ jet flights take wing on March 1 2021 between Sydney and Melbourne.
Starting with a fleet of three Boeing 737s, the airline will run up to nine return flights per day between the cities, before taking delivery of more aircraft to broaden its horizons.
“By Easter, two additional Boeing 737s will be added to expand our domestic network to Brisbane and other capital cities,” Sharp shares.
The first of those Brisbane routes will be to Sydney, with Brisbane-Melbourne considered at a later date.
"We don’t want to put a hard and fast date on it, because we feel we need the flexibility in choosing dates that suit us, rather than finding ourselves locked into pre-determined dates,” says Sharp.
“I think our plan will be to move with the market,” and to look at Brisbane-Melbourne flights “as we get more aircraft down the track, and the situation evolves.”
The Rex Lounge experience
Regional Express’ lounges in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide remain closed for now, but are expected to welcome passengers back in the first quarter of 2021.
These lounges had previously offered bites like sandwiches, chips and chocolates, Nespresso coffee, cereals, yoghurts, and non-alcoholic drinks, with alcohol served from mid-afternoon.
Although that may again be the case when the lounges return – and in Brisbane, when it debuts – over time, Rex looks set to change that.
Eventually, “it’ll improve – it’ll be a better offering in the lounges than we’ve had in the past,” Sharp hints.
“The exact date for that is yet to be announced, but we will have an improved offering for passengers travelling through the lounge.”
The news comes as Rex confirmed it would build an all-new lounge at Sydney Airport to replace its current facility with one much larger, and would also expand its Melbourne Airport lounge to cater for the expected increase in passengers.