Rex commence operations in WA: 28 February 2016

28 February 2016 © David Eyre

Regional Express (Rex) commenced operations in Western Australia today, with flights to Esperance and Albany.

Rex has based three Saab 340B aircraft in Western Australia; VH-ZRZ and VH-ZLF were delivered to Perth on 24 February 2016 and VH-ZRE arrived on 25 February 2016. Flights are scheduled that aircraft overnight at each of the three airports – Albany, Esperance and Perth.

The smaller capacity of the Saab 340s means that Rex does not require additional security infrastructure at Albany or Esperance, and this saves at least $20 per ticket. The airline uses more frequent flights to provide a similar number of seats on the routes.

First Rex services in Western Australia

The first Rex service was to Esperance, operated by Saab 340B VH-ZRE, which departed Terminal 2 and took off from runway 21 at 2:27pm as flight ZL2375, arriving in Esperance at 3:47pm.

The second Rex service and the first to Albany was operated by VH-ZLF, which took off at 4:13pm as flight ZL2131, arriving in Albany at 4:59pm.

  • ZL2377: VH-ZRE dep Perth 1907, arr Esperance 2028 – aircraft overnighted at Esperance.
  • ZL2376: VH-ZRE dep Esperance 1633, arr Perth 1812. FIRST REX ESPERANCE TO PERTH SERVICE
  • ZL2375: VH-ZRE dep Perth 1427, arr Esperance 1547. FIRST REX SERVICE IN WESTERN AUSTRALIA; FIRST REX PERTH TO ESPERANCE SERVICE
  • ZL2131: VH-ZLF dep Perth 1613, arr Albany 1659. SECOND REX SERVICE IN WESTERN AUSTRALIA; FIRST REX PERTH TO ALBANY SERVICE
  • ZL2132: VH-ZLF dep Albany 1747, arr Perth 1848. FIRST REX ALBANY TO PERTH SERVICE
  • ZL2133: VH-ZLF dep Perth 1934, arr Albany 2021 – aircraft overnight at Albany.
  • VH-ZRZ remained in Perth until 3 March 2016, when it operated flight ZL2125 from Perth to Albany.

REX wins tender

The State Government’s regulated routes were put up for tender in July 2015, as the current contracts were due to expire on 27 February 2016. In August 2015, locally-based Skippers Aviation and Sydney-based Rex responded to the tender. In September 2015, Virgin announced that it would not be bidding for the routes, as they were not economically viable for their 46-seat Fokker 50 aircraft, and a month later, the airline confirmed that all Fokker 50s were being withdrawn from service and sold.

In November 2015, the government announced that Rex had won the tender for the Perth-Albany and Perth-Esperance routes.

Virgin Australia operated its final Fokker 50 services yesterday (27 February 2016), to Albany, Esperance and Geraldton, with a ‘Farewell Fokker 50’ charter flight as the final revenue service.

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VH-ZRE SAAB 340B (MSN 340B-391) of Regional Express Pty Ltd (REX) at Perth Airport – 28 Feb 2016.
VH-ZRE SAAB 340B (MSN 340B-391) of Regional Express Pty Ltd (REX) at Perth Airport – 28 Feb 2016.
Operating the first REX revenue service to Esperance, departing off runway 21 at 2:24 pm.
Photo © Keith Anderson. (Photographed using Canon Camera and Lens)
VH-ZRE SAAB 340B (MSN 340B-391) of Regional Express Pty Ltd (REX) at Perth Airport – 28 Feb 2016.
VH-ZRE SAAB 340B (MSN 340B-391) of Regional Express Pty Ltd (REX) at Perth Airport – 28 Feb 2016.
Operating the first REX revenue service from Esperance, photographed arriving back at Perth, on approach to runway 24 at 6:12 pm.
Photo © Jake Fox.
VH-ZLF SAAB 340B (MSN 340B-374) of Regional Express Pty Ltd (REX) at Perth Airport – 28 Feb 2016.
VH-ZLF SAAB 340B (MSN 340B-374) of Regional Express Pty Ltd (REX) at Perth Airport – 28 Feb 2016.
Operating the first REX revenue service to Albany, departing off runway 21 at 4:10 pm.
Photo © Keith Anderson. (Photographed using Canon Camera and Lens)
VH-ZLF SAAB 340B (MSN 340B-374) of Regional Express Pty Ltd (REX) at Perth Airport – 28 Feb 2016.
VH-ZLF SAAB 340B (MSN 340B-374) of Regional Express Pty Ltd (REX) at Perth Airport – 28 Feb 2016.
Operating the first REX revenue service to Albany, departing off runway 21 at 4:10 pm.
Photo © Keith Anderson. (Photographed using Canon Camera and Lens)