Rex Airlines have launched their new Melbourne to Sydney service using Boeing 737s. The new service, on what was traditionally the world’s second busiest air route (behind Seoul to Jeju in South Korea), is a competitor to existing operators on the same route previously offered by Qantas, Virgin, and Jetstar.
Rex sold tickets to their first month of operating the route at $119 which was later reduced to $79, and then in the lead up to the launch event cut to just $49 one way.
The new Rex service launched with a single aircraft operating the route making three return services each day, however their objective is to increase this to nine return flights per day once new aircraft arrive before the end of March.
Inaugural Flight launch event
Rex held a launch event at Melbourne Airport at 6am prior to the flight departing at 7am. Present were Melbourne Airport CEO Lyell Strambi and Rex Airlines Deputy Chairman John Sharp. Speeches were made, cakes and ribbons were cut, COVID-safe fist bumps were made, and the media were there to cover the whole thing.
You could genuinely see the excitement in the Rex team and the staff members I spoke to seemed really positive about the new services.
Onboard the aircraft we were offered celebratory champagne (not a standard on future Rex domestic flights) and a goody bag with a Rex branded water bottle, cap, other merchandise and some literature.
The flight was given a water canon salute on departure from Melbourne and another on arrival at Sydney.
The flight went without a hitch and was really enjoyable. There was a real party atmosphere on board and it was great to see Rex acknowledging their history as Hazelton / Kendell Airlines and showing appreciation to their staff who helped get the airline to this point.
Some additional speeches were made on board and Rex gave away some free flights and holidays to randomly selected customers onboard the inaugural flight. A nice touch was when John Sharp got on the PA and gave a shout out to the second youngest passenger on the flight – a 14 year old aviation lover who wanted a plug for his YouTube channel.
It was exactly what you’d want from an inaugural flight – professionalism with informality, gratitude with sincerity, and a real sense of positivity for the future of Australian aviation.
We arrived in Sydney on time to a warm reception from the media helicopters and staff awaiting us in the terminal.
The 737s being leased by Rex were previously used by Virgin Australia which can be seen in the colouring of the seating. This does mean that Rex now offer a Business Class service on these new routes as well with 8 business class seats at the front of the 737. Some airports (Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide at the time of writing) also offer a Rex Business Lounge which Business Class travellers get access to prior to boarding.
Inaugural flight video
Watch my short video of the inaugural flight experience here.
Gold Coast and Adelaide services
Rex also announced using their 737s to fly additional routes from the end of March. They’ll be flying Melbourne – Gold Coast from 29 March with sale fares starting at $79, Melbourne – Adelaide from 31 March from $69, and Sydney – Gold Coast from 1 April 2021, from $69.
Where from here?
It’s great to have another operator offering competition on this really important route here in Australia and it will be really interesting to see take up from customers. With Qantas most likely still to dominate the corporate travel market and Virgin Australia set to announce their new business class offering in late March, will Rex start to eat away at the leisure travel segment on these routes and become a bigger player in the future, and if so where does that place Virgin in all this? And where does Rex fit in terms of Jetstar’s positioning as a budget operator on similar routes?
Time will tell, but I wish Rex Airlines all the very best with the new routes and thank them for a fun morning of flying.
NOTE: I paid for my ticket myself. Rex were aware that I was on the aircraft but did not provide any content or feedback on my video or this article. All opinions expressed are mine and mine alone.