Regional Aussie airline REX has announced plans to lure passengers flying the popular Brisbane-Sydney-Melbourne route away from Virgin and Qantas.
They have promised to raise $30 million in a bid to keep tickets affordable, and to include baggage and meals with airfares.
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The Courier Mail reports that Australia’s largest regional airline plans to fly the service using up to 10 narrow-body aircraft from March 1, 2021.
Lounge memberships will also be available.
The airline’s deputy chairman John Sharp said in a statement “the board has authorised management to commence preparations in earnest for the operation of an initial fleet of five to ten narrow-body jet aircraft to be based out of Sydney and/or Melbourne to service the Golden Triangle”.
Mr Sharp said with infrastructure in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney, it would be an “incremental extension for REX to embark on domestic operations”.
“Rex has the biggest regional network in Australia and we are the only carrier in Australia that has been able to successfully navigate the turmoil and shocks over the last two decades with uninterrupted operational profits since 2003,” he said.
As The Courier Mail reports, in March this year REX warned it was at risk of collapsing without assistance, prompting the government to grant it more than $80m to operate regional services until the end of the year.
Virgin Australia, Qantas, Jetstar and REX are all operating a very limited schedule of domestic flights at the moment. These flights form part of the Australian government’s minimum domestic and regional network, and are designed primarily to allow essential travel for key services and to help interstate passengers impacted by travel restrictions to return home.
Domestic flights are gradually increasing as border restrictions lift.
IS IT SAFE TO FLY INTERSTATE?
Unfortunately, there isn’t a simple answer to this question. Medical experts disagree about when – or if – it will be safe to get on a plane after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Although there are relatively few known or suspected cases of COVID-19 transmission on planes, there are several other factors that are likely to impact on your decision to fly, or not.
Some things to take into account are:
* Qantas has stated that although they will be ensuring “increased physical distancing” at Qantas Lounges, they will not be implementing physical distancing on flights, because it simply isn’t financially viable.
* Many airlines are implementing enhanced cleaning and sterilisation procedures.
* Pre-flight safety will be a priority, with most airlines implementing contactless check-in, along with hand sanitisation requirements within the airport.
* Most airlines will be providing masks. The requirement to wear them while on-board varies from airline to airline. For example, on Rex flights it is mandatory, while on Qantas flights it is not. However, unless you have a medical reason not to do so, it is highly recommended for your own safety.
* Passengers movements around the cabin will also be restricted for the safety of all on board.
* Many airlines are also limiting other services that require contact between staff and passengers. For example, the removal of in-flight magazines, and limiting the number of times that food and drinks are offered.
* It’s also possible that temperature testing may be required. Some airlines and airports are implementing thermal screening, and others are not.