Rex expands Sydney-Melbourne flights to Gold Coast, Adelaide

Flights from Sydney and Melbourne to the Gold Coast, and Melbourne-Adelaide, will start from the end of March.

By David Flynn, March 1 2021
Rex expands Sydney-Melbourne flights to Gold Coast, Adelaide

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."

Rex will fly its Boeing 737 jets to four cities by April 1.
Rex will fly its Boeing 737 jets to four cities by April 1.

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.

Read more: Sydney-Melbourne airfare war as Qantas, Virgin respond to Rex

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's Boeing 737 business class.
Rex's Boeing 737 business class.

Rex has, of course, removed the "Virgin" branding from these seats and imprinted its own logo into the headrest.

Rex's Boeing 737 business class.
Rex's Boeing 737 business class.

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."

Rex's Boeing 737 business class meal service.
Rex's Boeing 737 business class meal service.

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.


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.


11 Jul 2014

Total posts 870

I’ve been flying Sydney - Gold Coast once a fortnight for 10 years, then driving to Brisbane and flying back the same day. For me and all my friends I have met over the 10 years it’s about the departure time 7.00am. A lot of these people won’t fly Jetstar because of the reliability of making sure they get to work. I hope Qantas, Virgin and Rex think about this with the rebooting of flights after Covid.

14 Oct 2016

Total posts 105

Gold Coast is a bit of an odd choice as they don't have a base there and it's usually considered a leisure destination and they were initially hinting their main focus would be the Golden Triangle (BNE-SYD-MEL).

They may have decided to go to OOL maybe due to either issues with Brisbane Airport or they saw a gap in the market out of OOL, with the existing airlines focusing too much on the Leisure market and not the Business market out of OOL.

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 1175

With the small fleet they operate and the infrequent frequencies they can provide, I can't see Rex being of much interest to business travelers.  

18 Jan 2017

Total posts 53

OOL seems a strange decision also considering they don’t fly into OOL currently. It’s a slight move away from connecting from regional routes.

Most of the current Syd <>Mel flights still look they aren’t anywhere near full.  

They’ve probably found spare cash to open a lounge at OOL. 

01 Apr 2014

Total posts 112

I wish Rex well with these flights, but they are spreading the fleet thin with these schedules. If they have an aircraft go U/S then that will burn them with the knock on effects to other flights, and could stop them with luring QF/VX flyers over to them Fleet depth is the same reason many people with business schedules etc don't risk flying JQ as it can leave you stranded if the flight gets cancelled and there is no replacement aircraft.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Mar 2014

Total posts 206

I think this is more an expectation that leisure traffic will recover faster than corporate demand on SYD-MEL.

Not a bad move moving towards winter.  I actually wouldn't be surprised if CNS was on the cards.

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 1175

It makes sense during school holidays but, outside of school holidays, it will be hard to get the ongoing yields required.


01 Mar 2021

Total posts 6

Are people seriously applauding a decision to use single-use everything just because it’s recyclable? Recycling has a carbon footprint, you do realise? The last thing this planet needs is more waste when reusable items are available and far less damaging over time. What a shame. 

25 Feb 2013

Total posts 63

They've also just cut a number of regional ports (they say it's due to government fees, but it's obviously about refocusing on triangle, etc routes). The only reason I ever had to fly REX (bearing in mind I'd travel 1hr to avoid them) were to go places others didn't, and now this reason has now been removed. They would have been better off keeping regional focus and forming feeder agreement with VA (or QF, but QF have more in competition). I'm not sure with their reputation for unreliability, poor scheduling and few options whether business is going to take them up on their offer.

02 Mar 2021

Total posts 3

Despite COVID-19 crushing regional aviation in Australia, Rex is buying more and more planes, hiring more and more staff and expanding their network so rapidly. Why is that?

The idea of Rex is simple. It’s a company that has its “heart in the country”, and has the vast majority of it owned by Singaporean interests. The people sitting in Singapore probably have never been to Australia, and are using National Party MPs as their puppets here to prop up this cancer on Australian aviation. Rex’s Aus chairman is a former Nationals MP, John Sharp. This airline is constantly defended by the National Party MPs such as Mike McCormack and John Barilaro whenever Rex comes under scrutiny for being anti-competitive and using their political advantage to grow their operations, buy planes and hire more staff.

Rex. This is an airline that has exclusively had hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars handed to by the federal Morrison L/NP government in the form of government aid (not JobKeeper, all airlines incurring Rex took advantage of JobKeeper) last year while Qantas and Virgin received $0 in government aid. Rex is the “NewsCorp” of Australian aviation. The federal L/NP government is more interested in propping up this Singaporean-driven and owned business that has friends in the National Party that defends it every time they come under scrutiny, while not supporting our national carrier that has been around for more than 100 years. Similarly, in the media industry in Australia, the federal L/NP government is more interested in propping up an American-owned conservative media giant (NewsCorp) in Australia through this “government aid” while not supporting our national broadcaster (ABC) that has informed, entertained and save the lives of Australians for nearly 90 years.

I’m definitely all for fair competition in the skies, but when a foreign business like Rex gets politically propped up and has a massive advantage over other airlines, then this is not real competition and is a politically motivated cancer and attack on the aviation industry. If Rex grew itself from being a regional airline to a mainline airline, then good on them! But here, this is not the case.

I for one will be boycotting Rex airlines despite whatever convenient pricing or routes they might attempt to lure me into in the future. I encourage you to do the same.  

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Feb 2014

Total posts 23

Would it be great if Rex joined Star Alliance in some way...not going to have conflicting shareholders to contend with. Can pretty much rely on partners to offer a virtual international network. Would only be possible when they have a bit more scale on the capital cities.

Etihad Guest

23 Dec 2012

Total posts 5

I think they forgot to ask for the user manual when they picked up the keys for VH-REX.....when I flew yesterday, I checked available wifi-hotspots and could only pickup 'VirginAustralia'.

Don't you just hate it when no one can find the Admin login details ;-)

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

15 Aug 2020

Total posts 8

Rex have an appalling record regionally. In my experience, 50% of flights run as per schedule - loosing me half a day far too often.

While it is great that Virgin are matching REX price for Business, they still haven't told us what to expect in flight - except "trust me" (how is the former/ongoing CEO Paul Scurrah?)  and platitudes).  Jayne Hrdlicka is doing lots of puff media pieces with no content, and playing the minority LGBQTI card, rather than focusing on mainstream Australian flying customers.  Jayne (by her historical behaviour) is far from friendly to staff or customers.

So QF $$$ but you know what what you get.

Virgin - meaningless platitudes and Virtue Signaling

Rex - couldn't run a schedule reliably if you pay me

JQ no back-up planes  - just like Rex

Caveat emptor!

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