Regional Express will add the Gold Coast and Adelaide to its east coast Boeing 737 jet service, which begins today with the launch of direct flights between Sydney and Melbourne in competition against Qantas and Virgin Australia.
The airline had previously said it would add Brisbane to its nascent network from early April, although Rex has not commented if Brisbane has now been put on the back-burner.
However, with only six Boeing jets in its 'Phase One' fleet, those aircraft would be hard-pressed to bring Brisbane under their wing on top of the first four destinations.
Rex will launch twice-daily services on the following routes, with tickets on sale from 9am Monday March 1:
- Melbourne-Gold Coast from March 29, with economy fares at $79 and business class at $349
- Melbourne-Adelaide from March 31, with economy at $69 and business class at $299
- Sydney-Gold Coast from April 1, with economy at $69 and business class at $299
"South Australia and Queensland have always benefited from Rex's regional services that are renowned for reliability and great country hospitality at affordable fares," said Rex Deputy Chairman John Sharp.
"Today, I am pleased to announce that these two States will, for the first time, be able to enjoy the same benefits for their domestic services."
If the price war sparked by Rex's aggressive entry into the Sydney-Melbourne market is anything to go by, the new Adelaide and Gold Coast services could see Qantas, Virgin and Jetstar all slash their own lead-in fares on those routes.
The Regional Express Boeing 737s were previously leased to and flown by Virgin Australia, and still sport the exact same eight business class and 168 economy seats (including 30 with extra legroom).
Rex has, of course, removed the "Virgin" branding from these seats and imprinted its own logo into the headrest.
Read more: Introducing Rex's Boeing 737 business class
Passengers in the primo cabin will be served a "specially crafted meal box" which the airline says aims to "take in the flavour combinations of home-style country cooking with a weekly showcase of gourmet ingredients from some of our exceptional Australian producers."
Depending on the time of day, early highlights include Tasmanian smoked salmon, Australian artisan cheeses from Bruny Island and Gippsland, and hand-made desserts.
Complimentary drinks in business class will include tea, coffee, water, soft drinks, juice, beer, red and white wine, with wines "sourced from smaller boutique vineyards across Australia."
Read more: Rex Boeing 737 business class dining
Economy passengers will need to make do with complimentary snacks and drinks.
Rex has also said its ex-Virgin planes will offer inflight WiFi, although details of pricing hasn't been released at the time of writing.
One thing Rex doesn't have is a frequent flyer program, which puts the airline at a disadvantage to Qantas and Virgin Australia – a reboot of its Rex Flyer rewards scheme is slated for sometime in or after 2022.