The State Government has named Regional Express (Rex) as the preferred tenderer for the Perth-Albany and Perth-Esperance routes.
The announcement follows an extensive review and competitive tender process. Subject to final negotiations, Rex will enter a five-year agreement with the Department of Transport for the routes from February 28, 2016. Rex has indicated it would like to increase flight frequency and seat capacity on the Albany and Esperance routes as compared with the existing service.
Transport Minister Dean Nalder said the Albany and Esperance routes would benefit from more frequent flights and capacity from Rex which operated air services to more than 60 destinations across the Eastern States.
Rex has also expressed its intention to start its services from Albany and Esperance, allowing business people to fly to Perth and return the same day without having to pay for accommodation.
"The airline's substantial experience, customer service and efficient transport operations are highly regarded," Mr Nalder said.
After Ansett collapsed in 2001, a group of businessmen from Australia and Singapore bought its regional aviation businesses, including Hazelton and Kendell which were well-supported by customers. They established Regional Express which was listed on the ASX in 2005.
In selecting Rex as the preferred tenderer, the Minister said the service frequency and capacity were attractive. The proposed schedule was well balanced to the current market, suiting community and business travellers in Albany, Esperance and Perth.
Rex has a frequent flyer program for business travellers and its booking systems are linked to Global Distribution Systems used by travel agents and corporate travel management companies and customers to book flights online. Rex has significant flight services for a regional airline which include access to a bar service, enabling passengers to purchase alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, plus free water and savoury snacks.
Rex was ranked by Aviation Week and Space Technology magazine as the Top Performing Regional Airline in the world over the period 2009-2014 (five years) and has been voted the Best Regional Airline in the Australian Traveller People's Choice Awards Survey three times since 2011.
Mr Nalder welcomed Rex as a dedicated regional airline into the Western Australian market as it will be solely focused on the provision of these important regional air services. Rex currently operates about 1,300 weekly flights to more than 60 destinations in South Australia, Victoria, Tasmania, New South Wales and Queensland.
The Department of Transport is still exploring options with the industry on the Perth-Carnarvon-Monkey Mia, Perth-Derby and the northern Goldfields air routes, and an announcement about these routes is expected soon.
The airline would operate on the regulated air routes for an initial term of five years subject to a mid-term review of airline performance
For more information on Rex, visit their website
Requests for tenders were advertised on July 29, 2015 covering the regulated air routes of Albany, Esperance and Carnarvon/Monkey Mia and Leonora, Laverton, Mount Magnet, Meekatharra, Wiluna and Derby
Minister's office - 6552 6400