Executive Traveller exclusive
Regional Express plans to open a lounge at Brisbane Airport’s domestic terminal to strengthen its position on the highly-competitive ‘golden triangle’ between Australia’s east coast capital cities.
The challenger, which began flights from Brisbane to Sydney and Melbourne in December 2021, is understood to have leased an area next to gate 50, with fit-out already underway.
The space was previously used by Virgin Australia as a temporary ‘overflow’ lounge when its primary lounge was packed to capacity; prior to this, it was home to the airline’s meeting rooms.
Rex first flagged its desire for a Brisbane lounge in December 2020, with Deputy Chairman John Sharp telling Executive Traveller it would “accommodate our flights between Sydney and Brisbane, between Brisbane and Melbourne, and then obviously to other parts of Australia in time.”
As with its siblings in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide, the Rex Brisbane lounge will offer complimentary access to business class passengers and travellers in any class holding Priority Pass membership (included with American Express Platinum cards), along with members of the paid Rex Lounge program.
Executive Traveller has approached Rex for comment, and will update this article on the airline’s reply.
Rex has become a thorn in the side of both Qantas and Virgin Australia since launching intercity Boeing 737 flights in March 2021, with highly competitive fares in both economy and business class on a fleet of jets previously leased by Virgin.
Earlier this month the airline welcomed a seventh 737 into its hangars to boost the number of flights between Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
“Our seventh aircraft allows us to meet the ever-increasing demand for Rex’s services, given the shocking reliability on both Qantas and Virgin Australia,” said Sharp, taking a shot at the delays and cancellations which have hit those airlines over recent months.
Sharp aded that Rex intends to bring on another two 737s in the coming six months.
Also on the runway is an all-new Rex frequent flyer program which is expected to spark a loyalty dogfight with Qantas and Virgin.
A 2020 presentation to investors and sighted by Executive Traveller listed the launch of the Rex Frequent Flyer program as a ‘strategic milestone’, with an eventual value between $1 billion and $1.6 billion “in 3-4 years” after capital city flights commenced.