Regional Express could add Canberra to its growing network in the coming months, with direct flights between Sydney and the national capital.
Rex Deputy Chairman John Sharp told Executive Traveller the route, if it goes ahead, would be served by a mix of Boeing 737 jets and the airline's regional workhorse Saab 340B turboprops.
The 176-seat Boeing 737s, which are now darting between Sydney and Melbourne but will soon also take Adelaide and the Gold Coast under their wing, would be assigned to peak services while the smaller 33-seat Saabs would be be rostered at off-peak times.
Sharp says that even with four cities already in the airline's nascent jet network, there's room for more once all six of the ex-Virgin Boeing 737s arrive later this month.
"We can do more than those destinations with the aircraft," Sharp told Executive Traveller, stressing the airline's desire to be flexible and that that the proposed 'nine services a day' for Sydney-Melbourne is not locked in.
"The plan is to go to nine return services a day but the plan, our model, is always about suiting the size of the market. I often say we can scale up, we can scale down."
"We want to be in sync with the market, rather than ahead of it or also behind it, and so we've got that luxury of being able to dial up or dial down according to our market."
Another challenge to Qantas
Sydney-Canberra is currently the exclusive domain of Qantas, which flies a mix of QantasLink Boeing 717 jets and Bombardier Q300 and Q400 turboprops.
Virgin Australia has suspended its Sydney-Canberra services, with the capital city corridor now listed as one of over 40 regional routes to be flown by partner Alliance Airlines and its predominately Fokker fleet, with Virgin saying its Boeing 737s "are not appropriate or cost efficient to operate a number of the relevant routes."
None the less, Virgin says it will reopen its Canberra lounge this month.
That lounge precinct includes the invitation-only The Club, with membership enjoyed by many politicians, public service mandarins, business leaders, movers and shakers, although the fate of The Club itself remains unknown.