Regional Express is in discussions to launch flights to Canberra, Geraldton and Port Macquarie, the airline has confirmed.
In a nod to Virgin Australia’s recent exit from eight regional routes, “Rex has been in discussions with community leaders and government representatives desperate for an airline to fill the gap left by Virgin Australia,” said Rex General Manager for Network Strategy, Warrick Lodge.
However, while Rex announced alongside the news that its destinations of interest “have been abandoned by Virgin Australia,” it should be highlighted that Virgin Australia continues to fly to Canberra using its own aircraft.
Virgin Australia’s Brisbane-Port Macquarie route will also reportedly resume once Queensland’s border reopens to New South Wales, using codeshare flights operated by Alliance Airlines on its behalf. Virgin Australia did drop Geraldton from its network in 2019, however.
“These communities are concerned about being left with a monopoly airline and the impact this could have on flight schedules and fare pricing, particularly when their local economies have already been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Lodge added.
Regional Express recently sought Expressions of Interest from communities interested in having regular Rex flights, and invites other regional cities who have not already been in touch to submit an EOI.