Rex airline review – Regional Australian airline

Let’s take a look at who Rex Airlines are. Can they really take on a market dominated by Virgin and Qantas? We take a look at what this airline offers passengers, why a pilot would work for Rex and if they’re an airline the general public would choose to fly, in this Rex airline review.

Introduction – Rex airline review

Rex has grown from a little regional airline going toe to toe with Qantaslink and entered into a new era with a fleet of 737 jets to shake up the market previously dominated by Qantas, Jetstar and Virgin. In this article we delve a little deeper into Rex – taking a look at who actually is Rex Airlines, why would you choose to work for them and indeed choose to travel with them.

Who is Rex owned by?

Rex’s Head Office and daily operations are based in Sydney with the company owned by both Singaporean and Australian private investors.

Rex received a cash injection from the Australian government during the COVID19 downturn to ensure vital services to remote regional ports continued to be serviced.

rex airline review

How long has Rex been operating?

Rex has been an operational airline since the collapse of Ansett back in 2002. Regional airlines Kendall and Hazelton joined forces to create Regional Express Airlines – or Rex airlines as it is more widely referred to.

While Rex is most commonly known for its ability to connect remote Australia with its fleet of SAAB 340 turboprop aircraft, there are a few other parts of the business that show the diverse offerings of this company.

Australian Airline Pilot Academy (AAPA) was started in 2007 and trains the next generation of skilled airline pilots for both Rex and international airlines at training facilities in Wagga Wagga and Ballarat.

Pelair is their charter subsidiary and services the charter market and also holds the contract for Air Ambulance Australia.

“Rex was established from a belief that the bush needs and deserves an air service of quality that provides good connectivity between regional centres and capital cities at affordable prices.”

Is Rex affiliated with Qantas?

The very short answer here is no. Rex is not affiliated with Qantas, they are direct competitors competing for both the regional and capital city share. QantasLink has recently added several regional ports to its route portfolio which has angered Rex as they previously held a monopoly on these routes. For the consumer though, this is good news – a choice of carrier offering a higher frequency of flights at potentially a cheaper cost is always good news for the general public.

Is Rex a full service airline?

Rex sits neatly in the market as an airline that offers that full-service experience with a touch of country hospitality. Passengers can expect a complimentary snack paired with a nice cup of tea or coffee – delivered with that wholesome country service. Checked-in baggage allowance is also included in the economy class ticket price.

Rex has also recently announced a partnership with Delta Airlines connecting Australians with the wider worldwide market and offering a seamless experience for travellers from the bush and beyond.

Is Rex a low cost carrier?

Rex likes to disassociate itself from the tag of low-cost carrier. Rex prides itself on its full-service offerings. While offering a full-service experience, Rex stills offers good value for money on its capital city service between Sydney and Melbourne starting at $79. This price directly matches the price offered by Virgin Australia on the same route. Qantas is still the more expensive option at approx. $109. 

Rex offers premium products of both the Lounge and business class seating on its Boeing 737 routes. Rex’s loyalty program, Rex Business Flyer, currently offers two complimentary flights for every 18 flights purchased. There are rumours this loyalty program could further expand to help meet the needs of the business traveller travelling through Australia’s capital cities on the recently expanded jet operation.

What aircraft does Rex use?

Rex has an ever expanding fleet. The predominant workhorse of this regional airline are 60 SAAB 340 turboprops (seating up to 36 passengers).

Rex now also has six Boeing 737 (seating up to 176 passengers) with goals to further expand this fleet.

Rex’s subsidiaries also add to this fleet with the Pelair division operating 10 King Airs and their pilot training academy (AAPA) rounding out the fleet with around 40 training aeroplanes. 

rex airline review
The Rex Boeing 737-800NG – seats up to 176 passengers
rex airline review
The Rex Saab 340 – seats up to 36 passengers

Where does Rex fly?

Rex flies to around 60 destinations. Rex not only services many remote regional routes throughout all states of Australia (except the Northern Territory) to keep communities connected but, now also connects the country to the city with the commencement of its jet operations early in 2021.

 The fleet of Boeing 737s now servicing the ‘golden triangle’ and very lucrative market along the east coast connecting Brisbane, Sydney airport and Melbourne airport along with other domestic flights to Adelaide and the Gold Coast.

Is Rex a good airline?

Yes. For any airline to survive here in Australia they really do need to show commitment to Australians and their willingness to adapt to the needs of the travelling public. Rex flights are consistent, on time and offer a reliable and affordable choice.

Rex has recently pulled out of the Sydney Canberra route, confirming rising airport costs and the commencement of Link Airways service (wet-leased through Virgin Australia) were behind the decision to reallocate their time and services to more profitable routes.

“Rex is often complimented on the warmth and hospitality of its front line staff. The Company considers this is because its staff are committed to and enjoy their work, feel part of a “family” culture and subscribe to the Company’s values.”

Is Rex a good airline to work for?

Rex seems to have a vested interest in seeing its employees grow within the company. Many of Rex’s employees have been longstanding employees within the company, however, the current pilot’s EBA is expired and presents a challenging work environment with conditions and pay not aligned with the current economic climate.

For prospective employees it would perhaps be advisable to stand back and see what conditions pilots are able to negotiate before considering employment with the company.

How much do you earn as a Rex pilot?

Rex pilots earn between $60,000 – $120,000. Rex’s Pilot Enterprise Bargaining Agreement (EBA) has now been expired for a few years however, renegotiations between pilots and the company have been slow. Cadets start out on a significantly lower salary (around $45,000) and are bonded to the company for a period of several years.

Advantages of flying for Rex

●    Small company

●    Job security given strong financial backing from investors and government

●    Great first job for pilots (pilots with 1500+ hours ready to progress from GA flying)

●    Range of destinations and variation in flying

Disadvantages of flying for Rex

●    No current EBA

●    Cadets bonded for long period of time, hindering own career progression or paying high exit fees to break bond

●    Long days with up to five sectors operating (Sydney based working larger rosters)

●    No current progression plan to be promoted across the fleet from SAAB to 737

Conclusion – Rex airline review

Rex provides a lot of opportunities for pilots with an extensive network of destinations and varied flying. Rex has proved to be a committed airline in the Australian market with its tenacity and continued evolution of routes and even the introduction of a new fleet. Rex’s rivalry with Qantas is not new, nor will it disappear any time soon, however, if it means competitive fares and the continued servicing of many regional routes one could argue this can only be healthy in the Australian aviation industry. 

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ken johnson


Ken is a passionate aviator, a professional pilot and flight instructor. He has over 17 years of flight experience across hundreds of aircraft ranging from recreational, aerobatic, historic, commercial and military aircraft, training hundreds of students along the way. Find out more.

Ken has 124 posts and counting. See all posts by Ken

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2 thoughts on “Rex airline review – Regional Australian airline

  1. As a former Rex Airlines staff (ground staff), employees drop like flies. Pay is good at Rex and I must say it really is. Many overtimes that uou can pick up. Good money of course. In comparison to the payscale between Rex, Virgin and Qantas, Rex does stand out. But benefits such as staff travel is not as excellent as Qantas and Virgin. You still have to sign paperworks and that will have to go through different people and departments before you get the approval, which is annoying. You can inly use the staff travel within the Rex network, not much preference or options. A lot will be coming in, but only a few would usually stay. Fellow employees are nice, everyone helps and looks after each other because employees have no one to hold on to. Management does not care, listen or address most of the issues that needs to be addressed (a lot to mention to be exact). Furthermore, employees cannot say anything or even suggest or even voice out their thoughts on anything at all. The phrase “do as you are told” is what many people are getting sick of because management would always say and make everyone feel that employees are just “numbers” which can be replaced immediately. Managers will not listen to employees. There is one manager whom was approached regarding some concerns and told his staff “Sorry I have no time for that and I am busy”, regardless of the amount of emails that were sent to him. I believe that some people in this company needs to change their ways if they want Rex to further expand. They just think that they pay the employees to work and thats it. Rostering is also a very big issue that needs to be addressed. People also have lives outside work that the people who are in the management does not care at all.

  2. I challenge the comment that they are always on time .They can be anywhere up to 5 hours late in Albany .I would rather drive to Perth knowing that your not going to miss an appointment Plus $193 for 1 hour flight you can fly to Bali for that

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