Rex launches Melbourne-Perth, Adelaide-Perth flights

The challenger finally spreads its wings to cross-country flights.

By David Flynn, May 27 2024
Rex launches Melbourne-Perth, Adelaide-Perth flights

Just over three years since Regional Express launched its inter-city 737 jet service on the highly competitive Sydney-Melbourne route in March 2021, the country challenger is spreading its wings across Australia with the launch of flights to Perth.

Rex now has two Perth routes lined up on the runway - Adelaide-Perth and Melbourne-Perth – with both taking off  on Friday June 28, 2024.

From Adelaide, Rex will fly three days a week - Monday, Friday and Sunday – on an Embraer E-190 jet operated by sibling National Jet Express, with one-way economy fares starting at $249.

Melbourne-Perth is an even bigger play, running five days a week; starter fares are priced at $299 each way in economy and $999 in business class.

Going up against the established troika of Qantas, Virgin Australia and Jetstar on the Melbourne-Perth route, Rex’s General Manager of Network Strategy Warrick Lodge said “when more airlines compete on a particular route, consumers benefit and our record in the domestic market speaks for itself – Rex delivers terrific value for money.”

However, the timing of Rex’s single Melbourne-Perth flight – or at least the red-eye return - certainly isn’t going to appeal to every transcontinental traveller.

  • Rex flight ZL873 departs Melbourne at 8:15pm to arrive into Perth at 10:40pm
  • Rex flight XL874 leaves Perth at 11.55pm to reach Melbourne at 5:30am

Rex will use Perth Airport’s domestic Terminal 2; the airline has yet to advise lounge arrangements for its business class passengers and Rex Flyer Diamond members.

Also read: Business class compared – Qantas vs Virgin vs Rex

Flight Centre Corporate reports a 12.5% increase in the number of business travellers shuttling between Melbourne and Perth across January-April 2024 compared to the same period last year.

The top five industries of those traveller were resources (mining, oil and gas), construction, services, finance and insurance, and manufacturing.

Finance and Insurance saw the biggest leap on a per-sector basis, up 28% year-on-year.

Rex already has four regional WA routes under its belt with Saab turboprop flights from Perth to Albany, Carnarvon, Esperance and Monkey Mia.

Meanwhile, its fleet of ten 737s also flies to Canberra, Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Adelaide and Hobart; the airline teases it “will make a further announcement in coming days on yet another domestic route.”

Although Qantas has always been in the crosshairs of Rex and especially its oft-vocal Deputy Chairman John Sharp, the airline has often found Virgin Australia to be a more aggressive competitor, especially in the early days as Rex added new 737 routes. 

However, Rex has struggled to make a significant dent in the market. The airline held a share of 4.8% in April 2023, according to the report by Australia’s competition regulator, compared to 60.8% by the Qantas group (which includes QantasLink and Jetstar) and 33.2% by Virgin Australia.

Rex hopes to level up with the rollout of its Rex Flyer rewards program, and later this year plans to run a ‘status match’ promotion aimed at Qantas and Virgin Australia frequent flyers.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Aug 2014

Total posts 161

They won't make much of a dent in this market either with that pricing. Virgin has similar and some cheaper economy pricing while Qantas isn't that much more. Both with many more flights per day. They might take some business class passengers but that's only 8 seats per flight. 


03 May 2017

Total posts 26

Yeah nah. Saw the headline, got interested, read the details, quickly lost interest.

31 Mar 2014

Total posts 382

I understand the flight times are good for aircraft utilisation, instead of having it sit overnight on the east. However they won't attract a huge amount of people and a quick look at virgin shows from $269. Not sure if this will make much of an impact.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

03 Jan 2014

Total posts 10

The timings suit FIFO wo

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

03 Jan 2014

Total posts 10

The timings suit FIFO workers commuting before and after roster.  

30 Jul 2015

Total posts 135

That article is wrong when it says that Rex flies 737 flights to cairns. National jet express operates Dash 8 services to cairns for Rex under a ZL flight number. 

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2540

Thanks for that pick-up, Covo95, the story's been edited to reflect this.

Jetstar Airways - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 May 2018

Total posts 11

I hope REX do well with this new service. I wonder if they have been able to pick up some flight and cabin crew from Bonza to make it possible.

29 Jan 2012

Total posts 177

Great news that Rex is expanding - however as other readers have shared, the pricing is not really competitive or the scheduling favorable. If they can re-work these 2 factors then I believe they would certainly give VA and QF a run for their money. 

05 Jan 2023

Total posts 4

thank god, finally some competiton! yes the starting schedule is ugly but its only the thin wedge. when they bring on the other east coast majors this will improve, i'm sure the current duopoly wont give up prime terminal slots easily. 

01 Jul 2021

Total posts 38

I'm surprised it's taken this long for the Perth flights.

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