Rex drops five regional routes, but adds two others

Bathurst, Cooma, Grafton, Kangaroo Island and Lismore face the chop, but Coffs Harbour and Port Macquarie are set to benefit.

By Chris C., February 22 2021
Rex drops five regional routes, but adds two others

Rex is dropping four regional routes from Sydney and another from Adelaide, but plans to add two new destinations from Sydney to bring competition to those markets.

At the end of March, Regional Express’ flights from Sydney to Bathurst, Cooma, Grafton, and Lismore are all axed, with Adelaide-Kangaroo Island (Kingscote) chopped as well.

These routes, described by Rex as “marginal”, are currently supported by the Australian Government’s Regional Airline Network Support program. The program concludes at the end of March 2021, aligning with Rex’s exit from these markets.

“It is with a heavy heart that we are announcing the cessation of services to (these) five routes,” said Rex Deputy Chairman John Sharp.

Come April, Rex will instead direct its efforts to two new regional routes: both from Sydney.

This includes flights to Coffs Harbour and Port Macquarie, which will go on sale from February 23 for travel from April 2021.

It's 'final call' to five regional destinations (red), but with two additions to Rex's route map (green).
It's 'final call' to five regional destinations (red), but with two additions to Rex's route map (green).

Rex claims these are “ports where Virgin Australia has retreated, leaving Qantas as the sole or dominant operator.”

These comments follow Virgin Australia’s exit from the Sydney-Port Macquarie route in September 2020, although the airline continues to serve Port Macquarie from Brisbane via its partner Alliance Airlines, and still flies between Sydney and Coffs Harbour, too.

Other regional routes are also on the cards for Rex, with Sydney-Tamworth, Perth-Geraldton, Melbourne-Devonport and even Sydney-Canberra all under “active consideration”.

Regional Express’ announcement comes just days after its rival Qantas confirmed it would launch flights from both Melbourne and Brisbane to Coffs Harbour from April, and from Canberra to Byron Bay.

Rex will also commence jet services between Sydney and Melbourne on March 1.

Also read: First photos: Rex Boeing 737 business class

Chris C.

A Brisbane-based contributor to Executive Traveller, Chris Chamberlin lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins not just with a single step, but also a strong latte, a theatre ticket, and later in the day, a good gin and tonic.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

31 Mar 2016

Total posts 27

Less and less of Rex's heart is in the country so it seems...    I thought alliance were going to restart some of the regional routes VA pulled out ... maybe not now? 


09 May 2020

Total posts 508

I think REx bottom line of profitability is a practical one.

It there is mone to be made they will do it (as proven by the continuing SYD-DBO route a much as they whinge about the airport security levy)

Honestly most regional airlines fold due to ridership and profits viability, no matter how good they are as corporate support of regional Australia so if no government support is forthcoming  with no evidence of future growth why should they do it?


19 Apr 2012

Total posts 1408

Link has some opportunities and some juggling as well, but it is more central west to Brisbane and Melbourne but their Sydney flights have new threats and opportunities especially after Qantas moved into a couple of them.

RE Rex pulling out of KI, they actually planned on pulling out early last year however stayed an extra year after the government subsidy was in place. They had reduced services down to 2 return services a week at one point. QantasLink had a much more substantial schedule. First announced in Feb last year, they then planned on pulling out at the end of December 2020 once the government assistance ended but ended up sticking around a little longer.


09 May 2020

Total posts 508

I tot TMW requires airport security for all pax?

Hi Guest, join in the discussion on Rex drops five regional routes, but adds two others