Regional Express Airlines has taken delivery of its first Boeing 737-800 NG aircraft which touched down in Sydney yesterday.
The former Virgin Australia 737 was readied for delivery during the past week in Queensland at Toowoomba's Wellcamp Airport where its former airline branding was painted over.
It is the first of six 737s being leased by Rex and will be used for training activities before the regional airline begins flying Melbourne-Sydney return services in March next year, and then to Brisbane from Easter.
If the new jet services prove successful Rex will grow its fleet to 10 Boeing aircraft flying the domestic market by the end of next year.
Rex is employing former Virgin Australian pilots to fly its new acquisitions.
The crew of the newly arrived 737 will take off for a proving flight to Melbourne for the Civil Aviation and Safety Authority on December 5.
We intend to develop a full domestic airline network, linking all the capital cities over time
Deputy chairman John Sharp said Rex had an 18-year track record of leading on time performance and affordable fares in its regional services.
Now, for the first time, he said the domestic market could look forward to a safe, reliable air service which was affordable.
"We intend to develop a full domestic airline network, linking all the capital cities over time," he said.
Prior to the coronavirus pandemic grounding most of the Rex regional fleet in Australia, the independent airline operated 60 Saab 340 turboprop aircraft on 1500 weekly flights to 59 destinations in all states.
The livery for Rex's new domestic airline fleet will be released by the end of the month.
Tickets for Rex's Melbourne-Sydney return services go on sale in early December.
- New investor mulls $150m Rex share deal
- Coronavirus has Rex fighting for life and still cutting flights
Meanwhile, the Australian Services Union is furious at a move by Qantas which it said would see hundreds of customer service desk jobs cut at domestic airports.
"They're abolishing the sales desk and the service desk including for premium and frequent flyers, meaning everything will be self service, and if you have a problem you're on your own," said assistant national secretary Emeline Gaske.
She said it was a bitter pill to swallow for workers who had been managing on little pay for months but had stuck by Qantas, and the move would create a nightmare for passengers travelling for Christmas.
- Start the day with all the big news in agriculture! Sign up below to receive our daily Farmonline newsletter.
The story First Rex jet aircraft arrives for new capital city service first appeared on Farm Online.