The regional airline on Wednesday said it would service Brisbane to Sydney with triple daily flights Monday to Friday, and double-daily operations on weekends, starting on December 20.That’s three days after the Sunshine State opens its borders to fully vaccinated travellers, and about five months after the state shut itself off to visitors to prevent coronavirus from sweeping through. Rex this year expanded to capital city flights for the first time on the back of a $150m private equity investment from PAG Asia Capital. It has made no secret of the fact it has been looking closely at a range of major regional and holiday destinations in Queensland as summer approaches, and is set to establish a Boeing 737-800NG base in Brisbane.The Queensland government welcomed Wednesday’s news, especially as it will help the state recover ground lost during its hard-line lockout. “More visitors to Brisbane fly in from Sydney than any other city, making the new Rex connection good news for tourism operators and family reunions this Christmas,” Queensland Tourism Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said.Brisbane-Sydney is the second new route unveiled by Rex this week and follows Monday’s announcement that flights between Brisbane and Melbourne will begin on December 17. Those are available for $79 one-way. Rex said the $69 fares from Sydney to Brisbane are on sale until November 30 for travel up to April 30, 2022, with no Christmas holiday blackout dates. The aviation industry has been cruelled by Covid over the past two years as governments enforced lockdowns and travel bans, while international holiday-makers have also been shut out. Rex in August reported an $18.4m underlying loss for the 2021 financial year as revenues fell 20 per cent to $256.2m, including $87m in government support. Investors were, however, heartened by that result, and have since lifted the company’s share price from about $1.12 to more than $1.50.
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