Rex said on Wednesday (9 June) that it is now forecasting a full-year loss of A$15 million due to ongoing lockdowns in various parts of Australia due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The airline, which is locked in a battle with flag carrier Qantas and Virgin Australia for inter-state travel, had earlier forecast it would break even for the financial year.
Rex has cancelled many flights to and from Melbourne in Australia’s Victoria state over the last two weeks after the state experienced an outbreak of COVID-19 cases. The disruption comes after the airline in March began flying between Brisbane, Sydney, and Melbourne as it challenges Qantas, Jetstar and Virgin in domestic travel.
Since May, a number of states and territories have required travellers to isolate for two weeks after arriving from Victoria. This has reduced demand. Rex said customers whose flights were cancelled due to the virus outbreak were being offered credit refunds.
Rex is continuing to build up its jet operations. The airline has six former leased Virgin Australia Boeing 737-800s. Each of those planes is rumoured to be costing Rex just over US$46,000 a month, increasing to approximately US$77,300 a month after the first year, according to reports. Rex has confirmed it will be bringing another four Boeing 737-800s into the fleet over the next few months.
Rex is Australia’s largest independent regional and domestic airline operating a fleet of 60 Saab 340 and six Boeing 737-800 NG aircraft to 62 destinations throughout all states in Australia. In addition to the airline Rex, the Rex Group comprises wholly-owned subsidiaries Pel-Air Aviation (air freight, aeromedical and charter operator) and the two pilot academies, Australian Airline Pilot Academy in Wagga Wagga and Ballarat.
By Joe Cusmano