Rex isn't writing off Brisbane flights

The east coast triangle could still figure in Rex's Boeing 737 challenge against Qantas and Virgin.

By David Flynn, March 11 2021
Rex isn't writing off Brisbane flights

Regional Express still hopes to add Brisbane to its fledgling jet network, with flights from the Queensland capital to both Sydney and Melbourne completing its play for Australia's east coast triangle in direct competition with Qantas and Virgin Australia.

Rex Deputy Chairman John Sharp says that even when the first six ex-Virgin Boeing 737s arrive by the end of this month, and flights begin to Adelaide and the Gold Coast from March 29, "we can do more than those destinations with the aircraft."

Brisbane – which Rex long ago nominated as its third city after the Sydney-Melbourne launch, with flights to begin in early April – remains on the board, but Sharp says the ball is in its court.

"It just depends very much on Brisbane Airport as to whether they want to get on with the job or whether they want to continue to work at the pace they're working at... Brisbane could be more proactive in working with us to get things on the way."

By comparison, Sharp praised airport management at Adelaide and the Gold Coast for their enthusiasm to see the airline at their gates.

"They're two airports (that are) really easy to work with, everything's positive, there're no problems and everything gets solved quickly (so) you tend to respond by saying, 'Well, let's do that.'"

"Gold Coast Airport has been fantastic in the way they've worked with us, and where there was a problem, it disappeared sort of overnight."

Enthusiasm and inducements

Sharp said that Melbourne Airport had also been "very cooperative in the way we've worked with them. They were anxious for us to develop more services out of Melbourne beyond just the Sydney route, and as soon as possible, and they had various inducements for us to do that."

Executive Traveller understands that Brisbane was still on Rex's map as late as February, but the airline also saw more short-term potential in the leisure market, whereas the Brisbane-Sydney-Melbourne corridor is more reliant on business travellers.

"The leisure market is quite strong at the moment, given that international borders have been closed and Australians are holidaying in Australia," Sharp said.

"The business market will take some time to come back, and obviously, the Gold Coast is a big part of the Australian leisure market."

As previously reported, Sharp has also suggested Rex could enter the Sydney-Canberra market, which is currently exclusive to Qantas, with a Boeing 737 jet assigned to peak services and the smaller 33-seat Saab 340B turboprop rostered at off-peak times.

Executive Traveller review: Rex Boeing 737 business class

David

David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 886

It sounds like REX's business plan is based on which airport it can grift off for subsidies.  It doesn't sound like a well-thought out strategic plan.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 789

Rex have found opportunity in a crisis, very clever. Cheap money, cheap staff, cheap planes, and do business with airports that are ... cheap. With such a low cost-base, I reckon they have about a year to see if their experiment is a success. If so, great. If not, they'll probably cop some more funding to go back to their original business model and stay in the country.

yes, cheap & very flexible staff (unlike qantas) & very cheap money & aircraft.

Can't see how they can lose. They might even take some Jetstar passengers as well as qantas/virgin

09 Nov 2018

Total posts 4

hasn't that been their modus operandi with regional airports for years....

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

11 Oct 2014

Total posts 631

@reeves35,

you could be right, but personally I would accord Rex a bit more respect. It has been around for eons and would have a good understanding of operations at many of Australia's airports. BNE is already served by REX albeit with smaller frames to the QLD outback and FNQ, so I would say that John Sharp's comment could be knowledgeable and adjudged as being fair. Pulling space out of thin air for gates / lounges at a major international airport isn't always easy.

Perhaps, Rex may well be playing a strategy move? By alluding to upcoming SYD/MEL-BNE routes, he has just seen how quickly the other players have reacted .. by both dropping fares. 

'Re-prioritizing ADL and OOL over BNE could be a valid choice, dictated by any number of factors including scheduling and turnaround. It doesn't necessarily mean BNE will not be served - simply might just be a few weeks / months down the track ... like when the competition isn't expecting it.

Reeves

Actually Rex plan sounds perfect. It seems BNE is playing hard ball. OOL make sense. Business traffic is still down.

+ Plenty of people who live south of river in Bris & Logan residents, will drive to OOL to get to SYD or MEL.

Only -ve I can see with Rex's SYD/MEL/SYD flights is they need more frequency.

Perhaps BNE/SYD & BNE/MEL flights should not operated until they have more jet aircraft.

Then they can still service places like OOL with Mon-Fri middle of day flights, Saturday & Sunday am.

reeves

Actually sounds perfect. It seems BNE is playing hard ball. OOL make sense. Business traffic is still down.

+ Plenty of people who live south of river in Bris & Logan residents, will drive to OOL to get to SYD or MEL.

Only -ve I can see with Rex's SYD/MEL/SYD flights is they need more frequency.

Perhaps BNE/SYD & BNE/MEL flights should not operated until they have more jet aircraft.

Then they can still service places like OOL with Mon-Fri middle of day flights, Saturday & Sunday am.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

07 Dec 2015

Total posts 48

Sounds like something straight out of the Rex playbook!

05 Apr 2017

Total posts 12

It may not appeal to many as a "well thought-out strategic plan" but it sure worked for Ryanair.

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 886

What worked for Ryanair was being a ULCC in a market ripped off by legacy carriers who charged ridiculous amounts for comparatively short sectors.  People were happy to fly to far-flung minor airports to make the savings.  I think REX may have done better if they had differentiated themselves better by going the ULCC route instead of being not noticeably different from the existing players though admittedly the ability to operate out of cheaper secondary airports is pretty restricted in Australia with only Melbourne (AVV) and Brisbane (OOL) being options currently.

reeves

qantas is in big trouble on SYD/MEL/SYD especially when Rex beefs up their frequency. Qantas can't afford to cut fares much in peak hour, as that's where it makes a huge % of it's profits. Qantas is not that special & we're talking a 60 min flight, not 12 hours to LAX.

QFP

22 Jan 2013

Total posts 75

Bring on Canberra!

13 May 2015

Total posts 22

You can’t seriously think there’s no strategy behind their routes and PR/announcements? As kimshep says above, it’s not their first rodeo. Sounds like a clever way to put the pressure on Brisbane to me. 

XWu
XWu

09 May 2020

Total posts 381

It will be interesting to know if the CBR-SYD coming off Saab flights would be treated like any REx Saab flights from intrastate regional airport and have to leave the secure area of the airport upon disembaking and re-enter via security scanning rather than entering the secure area directly.

Particularly relevant for those transiting SYD for other destinations including REx interstate flights 

27 Aug 2013

Total posts 32

Passengers on some regional flights aren’t permitted to enter the Sydney domestic terminal directly on arrival as they haven’t been security screened at their departure airport. Unless Rex can get approval to use a big tent to corral its Saab 340 passengers at Canberra Airport (how very country), all of their departing passengers will need to be security screened so they can access the secure area in the terminal. Assuming these passengers are security screened in Canberra (which they will be), they will then be able to enter the Sydney domestic terminal directly on arrival as well.

XWu
XWu

09 May 2020

Total posts 381

Things may have changed but a few years ago (well within the REx-DBO security levy war) the buses ferrying the DBO-SYD REx pax from the Saab aircraft sometimes deposit the pax to the direct exit just like flights from any other non security screened regional airport, or maybe I was “lucky” as I was not trying to catch another flight and direct exit suit me better anyway 


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